IP plans another stoppage at local mill

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2000

For the fourth time this year, most employees of International Paper’s Vicksburg mill will be temporarily out of work, this time for about 10 days beginning two days before Christmas.

Citing a surplus inventory of the kraft linerboard produced at the mill, IP spokesman Ray McLaurin said the shutdown will begin Dec. 23 and end Jan. 2.

One of the year’s shutdowns, in August, was because of a problem with boilers used to generate electricity. But that layoff also was extended when officials cited an abundance of the linerboard. The other two shutdowns were blamed on the oversupply of linerboard, which is used in the manufacture of corrugated shipping cartons.

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“We just have to adjust inventory,” McLaurin said Tuesday.

McLaurin said he did not know how many of the plant’s 365 employees would be affected, but, “Staffing will be minimal, just enough people to protect the property,” he said.

The few who will work during Christmas week will be from the production and maintenance departments, he said.

Some laid off employees have vacation time they can use during the outage, McLaurin said, and all employees will get three days of holiday pay during the week of Christmas.

When work resumes after the first of the year, McLaurin said many in the paper business expect an upturn in the market.

Last week PolyVulc USA Inc., which operates a plant at the Vicksburg harbor, announced it was laying off about half of its 43 employees effective Monday because of a slowdown in the manufactured home industry, the main customers for one of its products. A company official said they hoped to recall the workers after Jan. 1.