UPM Blandin Announces Layoffs in Grand Rapids

October 26, 2017 05:32 PM

UPM Paper has announced plans to lay off about 150 workers in Grand Rapids, citing the global market situation for graphic papers.

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The company will permanently close paper machine number 5 at the UPM Blandin plant, reducing the annual capacity of coated magazine paper by about 128,000 tons. The closure is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

In a news release, UPM said "employment related actions (at) Blandin will start with immediate effect and will be handled in accordance with federal and state statutory requirements."

Click to read the full news release from UPM Paper.

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce President, Bud Stone says the layoffs are unexpected.

"It was kind of a surprise. I don't think there was any for warning," said Stone.

He says the effect the closure will have locally is unknown at this point, but says the plant contributes greatly to the economy.

"UPM Paper has always been a leader in our community," said Stone. "Blandin not only has the jobs that are inside the mill, but there's also the network which keeps the mill running, which is the logging industry of our area."

Stone says he confident the community will rebound from this.

" It's something that you have to be aware of in the global economy," Stone said. "This isn't the first time that things like this have happened and our people help each other."

UPM said paper machine 6 will continue operation at the Blandin site. The facility currently has about 400 people.

The company is also laying off 223 workers in Germany.


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