Washington, DC – Rep. Ron Kind released the following statement after the Wisconsin Rapids Together Task Force met on Wednesday.
“Since Verso announced its decision to cease operations at its paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids, I have worked with local, state, federal, industry, and labor leaders and Verso Corporation to support the Wisconsin Rapids community during this time,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “I am concerned about the lack of Verso’s coordination and transparency with stakeholders surrounding the selling of the paper mill. With 900 jobs on the line, we can’t afford to be playing games, which is why I have requested a meeting with Randy Nebel of Verso so he can explain the options for future operations at the mill. The community’s efforts to save the mill can only go so far without Verso’s support. I encourage Verso Corporation to be transparent about its plans for the mill and work in good faith with any and all interested buyers that are committed to keeping the mill, which has been producing paper and creating jobs for more than 100 years, operating for years to come.”
Since Verso Corporations announced plans to idle the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill in June, Rep. Kind and his office have actively worked with state, local, and federal officials, industry and labor representatives, and Verso employees to develop a plan for the future of the mill and to provide support for the employees and their families. Rep. Kind has taken steps to provide additional job training services for those looking for new employment opportunities and has worked with the Evers Administration to try to find a new buyer for the mill. Additionally, last August, Rep. Kind lead a bipartisan letter to then-Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in support of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition filed on behalf of workers at the Verso paper mill. Following the letter, the TAA petition was approved, providing the nearly 900 Verso employees with the support they need and the resources to secure future employment opportunities. Last fall, Rep. Kind, along with Sen. Baldwin, called on Verso to reverse their announced decision to suspend the search for a buyer for the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill.