Sen. Dill says action needed as more workers face layoffs
AUGUSTA — With today’s news that the bulk of 300 previously announced layoffs at the Verso paper mill in Jay will come before Christmas Day, Sen. Jim Dill of Old Town is reiterating his call for lawmakers to support legislation to assist laid-off mill workers.
Dill’s bill, titled “An Act to Provide Assistance to Laid-off Workers,” will be submitted as an after-deadline bill. The bill is still being drafted, but Dill’s goal is to ensure adequate job training, financial assistance and/or transition services to any employee who loses their job as a result of these mills shuttering.
Given the recent rash of layoffs forthcoming or expected at mills in Old Town, Lincoln and Jay, the bill is meant to complement or strengthen existing state and federal programs. At the three mills, as many as 700 workers in Maine’s paper industry have received layoff notices.
“Impending layoffs in Jay make the need for this bill even more dire,” said Sen. Dill. “As more and more of Maine’s proud papermakers find themselves out on the street, the state must step up to ensure these talented workers have a smooth transition back into the workforce as quickly as possible.”
Sen. Dill will submit his bill to the Legislative Council before the 2016 legislative session begins. The bill will require a majority support of the bipartisan Council, which is comprised of the leadership from both parties in the Legislature.