(Host) A Georgia company has offered to buy an idle paper mill in the Northeast Kingdom town of Gilman.
VPR’s Steve Zind reports.
(Zind) Arcadia Energy has offered to purchase the former American Paper Company mill for 2.7 million dollars. The bid was submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rutland. It’s not clear if the company plans to reopen the mill, which closed last April, putting more than one hundred and twenty people out of work.
Because many of the workers were owed back pay and benefits, The state went to court and forced the mills owners into bankruptcy.
Under the rules of the bankruptcy, any interested buyers have until February 4 to outbid Arcadia.
Steve Bean is president of the mill workers union local in Gilman.
Bean says some of the laid off workers have been getting by on unemployment benefits, but those run out soon. Others have taken new jobs at lower wages than before.
(Bean) “A certain amount have gotten jobs that are sixty to seventy percent less pay than they were getting at the mill. There’s just not that kind of work in this area now, especially with the economy the way that it is. You almost have to go to the Burlington area or to southern New Hampshire to get the kind of money we were getting up here.”
(Zind) Bean says workers are hoping whoever buys the mill will reopen it. The property includes an operating hydroelectric dam and Bean says there’s concern the new owner may simply buy the property for the dam and leave the mill idle.