JAY, Maine — Pixelle Specialty Solutions, which owns the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, announced 67 more layoffs Wednesday.
The mill announced July 9 that it would reduce its number of employees over time. On July 13, the mill laid off 59 employees and then on Sept. 24, 51 more lost their jobs.
“No one foresaw, wanted or caused the rupture that led to these unfortunate reductions of valued team members," Mill Manager Eric Hanson said in a statement. "We will provide those affected with compensation, benefits, and job placement assistance.”
The layoffs are part of the mill's long-term plan, following the April 15 pulp mill digester rupture that stopped its pulp manufacturing operation and caused a massive explosion.
Remarkably, nobody was injured during the explosion. At the time of the explosion, Pixelle Human Resources Manager Roxie Lassetter estimated there were around 165 to 175 employees working.
"No one was in the immediate vicinity, which was certainly helpful," Lasseter said.
The mill said it has continued operating safely while utilizing its two operating paper machines to produce specialty products to meet the needs of its customers.
The mill expects to complete remediating the rupture site, determining the root cause of the rupture, and developing a long-term plan in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“As we have stated, 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.”