La Crosse, WI – Today, Rep. Ron Kind and Sen. Tammy Baldwin called on Verso Corporation to reverse their recently announced decision to suspend the search for a buyer for the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill, and continue to work in good faith with interested buyers. This comes after the closure of the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill owned by Verso Corporation in July 2020.
“I am deeply disappointed by Verso Corporation’s recent decision to halt efforts to find a buyer for the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill. Wisconsinites’ livelihoods are on the line, and it’s unacceptable and unwarranted for Verso to not respond to interested buyers,” said Rep. Kind. “To that end, I’m calling on Verso to immediately restart these talks and work in good faith to find a buyer for the mill. The Wisconsin Rapids community is dedicated and hardworking, and I know that given the opportunity they will continue to innovate and succeed. I will continue to work alongside local, state, federal, industry and labor leaders to support Wisconsin Rapids workers and families through these challenging times and ensure the community is able to build back stronger than ever.”
“The unfortunate decision by Verso puts the economic security of 900 Wisconsin families – who have already been waiting since June to know if their future is secure – in further limbo. This mill has been producing paper for more than 100 years, and it is vitally important to the North Central Wisconsin economy, and the thousands of workers across our state who work in industries upstream and downstream from Verso as well as the small business owners who count on those workers spending their income. The shared prosperity of the Wisconsin Rapids community depends on the continued operation of the pulp and paper mill, and I urge Verso to consider the impacts of this decision on all the people in the North Central Wisconsin region, and instead work to find a buyer that is committed to keeping the proceeds from the mill’s operation in the community to the maximum extent possible,” said Sen. Baldwin.
Since Verso Corporation announced plans to idle the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill in June, Rep. Kind has worked with state, local, and federal officials, industry and labor representatives, and Verso employees to develop a plan for the future of the mill and to provide support for the employees and their families. Rep. Kind has taken steps to provide additional job training services for those looking for new employment opportunities and has worked with the Evers Administration to try to find a new buyer for the mill. Additionally, in August Rep. Kind led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in support of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition filed on behalf of workers at the Verso paper mill. Following the letter, the TAA petition was approved, providing the nearly 900 Verso employees with the support they need and the resources to secure future employment opportunities.