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Jay Paper Mill Closure Leaves Hundreds Unemployed

Devastating Blow to Jay, Maine Community

In a shocking turn of events, the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, Maine, is set to close its doors within the first few months of 2023, leaving hundreds of workers without jobs[^1^]. The mill had been struggling since a massive explosion rocked the facility in April 2020, causing irreparable damage[^2^]. Despite efforts to keep the mill operational with the assistance of the State of Maine, the closure announcement by Pixelle, the mill’s owner, came as a painful blow to the community[^3^].

Impact on Local Economy

The closure of the mill will have far-reaching consequences for the town of Jay, which heavily relied on the facility. Shiloh LaFreniere, the town manager, expressed her shock and disappointment, stating that the mill accounted for 22% of Jay’s tax base, generating approximately $1.8 million in revenue last year[^4^]. However, she acknowledged that the mill’s contribution had been steadily declining over time as operations scaled back[^5^]. This closure will undoubtedly have a significant financial impact on the community.

Uncertain Future for Mill Workers

Former mill workers, like Randy Richards, expressed their sympathies for their colleagues who will be affected by the closure. With its competitive wages and excellent benefits, the mill provided stable employment in the area[^6^]. The closure will impact 230 jobs, leaving many individuals and their families uncertain about their future[^7^].

Pixelle’s Explanation and Support for Employees

Pixelle declined an interview request but released a statement attributing the closure to uncontrollable economic forces and the catastrophic damage caused by the 2020 explosion[^8^]. The company expressed gratitude for its employees’ contributions and pledged to support them by offering continued employment at other Pixelle locations or providing outplacement assistance[^9^]. While this commitment is commendable, the closure still marks the end of an era for the Jay community.

State and Local Support for Mill Workers

Maine Governor, Janet Mills, expressed her disappointment over the closure announcement and her concerns for the well-being of the affected workers[^10^]. She had attempted to intervene and explore options to keep the mill open, but Pixelle informed her that nothing could be done[^11^]. Governor Mills assured the employees that they would receive health care benefits and severance pay following the end of their employment[^12^]. Furthermore, she directed the State Labor Commissioner to send a Rapid Response Team to provide support and resources for the affected workers and their families[^13^].

Looking Towards the Future

Town officials in Jay are scheduled to meet with Maine state officials to discuss the next steps in response to the closure[^14^]. It is a challenging time for the community, but with the support of the state and the resilience of its people, Jay will undoubtedly find ways to recover and thrive once again.

Quill And Fox

[^1^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^2^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^3^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^4^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^5^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^6^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^7^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^8^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^9^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^10^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^11^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^12^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^13^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston
[^14^]: Source: NECN & BC 10 Boston