The Androscoggin plant in Jay was the site of an explosion in April this year, which resulted in more than 170 workers being laid off. This is the third layoff since July and has left 67 more unemployed.
According to Mainebiz, it is the largest of three that Pennsylvania-based Pixelle Specialty Solutions has made following the April 15 rupture of a pulp digester, which sent plumes of debris and smoke into the air but injured no one.
The accident is still under investigation and forced the company to stop pulp production at the plant. With the third layoff, the total number of employees laid off reaches 177, which represents more than a third of the workforce of around 500 employees at the factory earlier this year.
Also according to the Mainebiz article, on July 9, Pixelle said it would reduce the plant’s employment over time to operate competitively in its reduced configuration.
In a statement on Wednesday, Manager Eric Hanson said the plant hopes to fix the damage, determine the root cause of the disruption and develop a new strategic plan before the end of the year.
“This process is time-intensive and we need to execute correctly to help ensure long-term success,” Hanson said. “The mill’s employees are extraordinary. With the digester rupture occurring in the middle of the pandemic and its related impacts, they have operated the mill in a safe and environmentally responsible manner and provided exceptional product quality and service to our customers. ”
Workers who were released will receive compensation, benefits and job placement assistance, he added. Meanwhile, Jay plant continues to produce specialty products with two working paper machines.