350 more IP workers exit

Published 9:31 am Friday, May 14, 2010

FRANKLIN—The largest group of International Paper Co. workers, 348 total, will be terminated from their jobs at the paper mill this weekend.

Franklin Mill Communications Manager Desmond Stills said Thursday that after this weekend there would be about 250 workers left at the mill. That figure takes into account employees who have voluntarily left their jobs earlier.

IP announced on March 12 that the company would terminate 350 workers in a letter to Isle of Wight County Board Chairman Phillip Bradshaw. The letter was sent in compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

Of the 350 terminations, 93 are in maintenance, 69 are in roll finishing, 63 work in the sheet plant, 31 are in chemical recovery and 26 work in the fibers wood yard. Another 18 employees to be let go work in the fibers recycling plant, 13 are in the power and recovery department, 12 are in fibers general operations, nine are paper mill workers, seven work in the environmental department, five work at the Converting Innovation Center and four work in the store room.

The company said it would terminate one employee on Thursday, 212 on Friday, six on Saturday and 129 on Sunday.

Two salaried employees, both in roll finishing, will be let go on June 30.

Most of the affected workers belong to one of three unions at the mill. IP said that of the 350 workers to be let go, 154 are members of Local 505 of the United Steelworkers of America, 144 are with Local 1488 of the United Steelworkers of America and 50 belong to Chapter 176 of the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers District of Local 32BJ/SEIU.

The company announced Oct. 22 that it would close the Franklin mill as part of a strategy of reducing production capacity. IP shut down the No. 6 paper machine at the mill on Nov. 9, the No. 1 machine at the end of 2009, and the Nos. 4 and 5 machines on April 15.