IAM District 4 has filed an injunction in the U.S. District Court of Maine against Verso Paper Corp., as part of the growing effort to force the company to honor severance commitments to hundreds of employees who will lose their jobs when Verso shutters the Bucksport mill.
Verso officials, who stunned the community recently with the closure announcement, claim the law requiring large corporations to provide timely severance does not apply to them. The same officials, however, stand to collect more than $8 million in bonuses in the wake of the closing.
Verso plans to sell the Bucksport mill to a scrap recycler that will ultimately lead to the dismantling of the facility that has stood for more 70 years. The closure is estimated to cost the town of 5,000 almost half of its tax revenue, but the effect will be far reaching, with many employees living more than 75 miles from the mill.
“This has been a nightmare since Verso officials made the announcement,” said IAM District 4 Directing Business Representative Dave Sullivan. “Verso has blatantly taken the stance that they are above the state’s law regarding severance, claiming it doesn’t apply to them. We are not going to sit back and watch idly as this company defrauds our state, and our members.”
IAM Representatives and state officials have stated a growing concern over the maneuvers made by Verso to avoid making good on compensation earned by employees after decades of dedicated work, including filing bankruptcy to avoid making any payments. The injunction filed seeks to place attachments on the real and personal property in Bucksport, ME, and/or the proceeds of any purchase and sale agreement of the mill.