Verso Corporation recently announced they will permanently close its Luke, Md. location in June. The decision was made in large part due to the decline in customer demand for the product.
Verso Paper Mill in Luke, Md. has been there for nearly 130 years. Verso officials say due to electronic communication, the demand for the type of paper made there has declined.
“We explored the possibility of making different grades of paper at the mill, but the conclusions remained the same that we couldn’t achieve profitability at the mill in the mixed market place,” said Kathi Rowzie, VP of Communications and Public Affairs for Verso Corporation.
About 675 employees will be affected by the closure of the mill.
“Closing a facility is the most difficult decision any company can make because it affects the lives of so many people and this decision was not made easily,” said Rowzie
One Luke resident believes with Verso Paper Mill shutting down, it is going to be devastating for the area.
“It’s going to put a lot of people out of jobs and our town, we depend on them and it’s really going to make a big difference for us,” said Gary Wiltison, a Luke resident.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, released a statement saying in part: “My heart goes out to each and every one of these employees and their families. They are decent, hard-working people who deserve better. I have directed our Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Commerce to do everything possible to help the workers and the community.”
However, Wiltison is hopeful another company can come back and open up the mill again.
“I’m hoping somebody can come back and open it up, real soon, as soon as they shut down, we can get somebody else in here right and quick, but who knows,” said Wiltison.
Verso officials did say their representative and salaried employees will receive severance. And the company says employee pensions will not be affected by the closure.
The mill will close on June 30.