Layoffs end at IP; workers called back

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2001

[01/03/01] International Paper, one of two Warren County industries that idled employees in December, is up and running again.

IP’s Vicksburg mill near Redwood shut down Dec. 23 for the fourth time in 2000, with an oversupply of kraft linerboard in the international market cited as the cause. Two of IP’s other shutdowns last year were blamed on oversupply, and one followed a problem in the manufacturing process. Acid was found in the water of one of its power generating boilers.

“We brought them all back today,” Brad Biggar, IP mill manager, said of employees Tuesday.

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When the shutdown was announced early in December, IP officials said they were unsure how many people would be laid off, but said only a skeleton crew from the 365-person work force would remain at work.

Biggar said the workers began the process of restarting the papermaking machine Tuesday and it would be in operation by sometime today. He said he anticipated they would not operate at full production for a while.

Also in December, PolyVulc USA Inc., a manufacturer of products from finely ground rubber, announced it was going to lay off 22 of its 43 employees. Those laid off worked on the lines that produced pier pads and air conditioner pads.

Fred Farrell, one of the principals in PolyVulc, said the layoff was because of a slowdown in the manufactured housing market, one of the company’s primary customers.

Farrell said his company has brought back only three or four of the people laid off in December.

“It’s too early yet,” he said.

Farrell said he and other company officials will need to wait a week or two to see how 2001 orders begin coming in before they decide when to resume full production.

PolyVulc’s crumb rubber and pellet rubber production lines that recycled used tires to make the new products remained in operation.