175 layoffs to begin at Verso Paper plant in Minnesota

SARTELL, Minn. (AP) — Layoffs are beginning this week at the Verso Paper Corp. plant in Sartell, where 175 workers were told in October they’d be losing their jobs.

Mill manager Pat Gibney says the employees will be phased out within the next two weeks.

A St. Cloud Times report says the workers include 29 salaried employees and 146 hourly workers represented by the United Steel Workers union.

They’re waiting to see whether they’ll qualify for benefits through the state Dislocated Worker Program. They may also get federal benefits if the U.S. Department of Labor determines the layoffs were due at least in part to foreign competition.

Another 125 employees are being cut at the company’s mill in Maine. Verso blames the cuts on higher costs and lower demand for coated papers.