Machines were shutdown at Great Northern Paper in East Millinocket around noon Thursday.
“We stopped the presses last night, and we have ceased production temporarily for up to 16 weeks,” said GNP Spokesperson, Scott Tranchemontagne.
All of their employees reported to work on Friday, as they will for at least two months, but with different duties. They’re now helping GNP restructure the company.
GNP say this is the responsible decision and an attempt to stay sustainable for the long-term.
“For two real reasons, really. One is because we’re earning less revenue because the market price for our product has deflated and the cost to make our product has risen dramatically,” said Tranchemontagne.
An announcement like this is one the town of East Millinocket is used to. It has many here saying, ‘What if?’”
“With this new announcement, who knows how many people will be able to stay here, or if they’ll have to seek someplace else to work or live, people our age, or even our children. There’s just so many unknowns,” said Carol Levasseur, pharmacy tech at Davis Pharmacy.
“There’s a lot to think about, at this point, and a lot riding here. The employees at the mill, the people that live in this town. It weighs heavily on shoulders,” said Shirley Tapley, the town’s administrative assistant.
As the town’s administrative assistant, Shirley Tapley says they are looking at the bright side of things, but if the mill were to shut down permanently, it would effect the entire region.
“2003, I think ,was the bankruptcy, that was huge, took a long time to recover from that. Then the mill changed hands numerous times and this company is an investment company. We’ve always worked very well with this company. They’ve been very, I believe, positive and we remain optimistic, I guess.”
Tapley says this will most likely also halt budget talks for 20-14 and 15. She says it will be a topic of discussion for Monday’s budget meeting.
“Here we go again, maybe it’s because we’ve been there, done that and we’ve come through it bad hopefully that will happen again.”