Wisconsin Rapids Together Task Force
Senator Patrick Testin and Representative Scott Krug chair the Wisconsin Rapids Together Task Force. The task force works to assist the community in accessing resources and assistance in the face of the closing of the Verso Mill in Wisconsin Rapids. The task force will also assist in exploring options for the mill and facilitating conversations on the mill's future.
Please see the links above for information, resources, and video of previous meetings as we work alongside you to move our communities forward.
Status report: September 8th, 2020
The mill is closed. Production has ceased and much of the workforce has been discharged. The mill formerly employed 900 people; some 250 to 300 are working to close the mill and prepare the equipment for shutdown. Once the mill is fully idled, about 125 people will continue to work at treating wastewater and generating electricity for Sonoco and for Nine Dragons (two companies who rely on infrastructure at the mill for their own operations).
The task force is informed that negotiations between Verso and the unions representing its employees, have concluded or will soon conclude. Union members are encouraged to contact their unions to learn more about separation terms and benefits.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has opened the Job Center office in Wisconsin Rapids to Verso workers and also to laid-off employees of the casino in Nekoosa WI. (See our "Resources for Families" page.)
Training and assistance are available to employees from a number of area institutions and from county and state government. (See our "Resources for Families" page.)
An application for the TAA program (Trade Adjustment Assistance) has been filed with the US Department of Labor. The timeline for approval is uncertain but is hoped for during September. For information about the TAA program please see our Resources for Families Page.
The Rapid Response Program has been activated for the Verso Mill as well. Rapid Response is a pro-active, business-focused, and flexible strategy designed to respond to layoffs and plant closings by quickly coordinating services and providing immediate aid to companies and their affected workers. Rapid Response is coordinated in Wisconsin by the office for Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The Rapid Response program is being activated for the Verso closing. Information on Rapid Response from Wisconsin DWD is available here.
A job fair was held Monday August 28, and Tuesday August 29th, 2020. Another job fair will be held on Monday, September 28th. Please see our “Upcoming meetings” page for additional information, or visit the website by clicking here for more information.
Future of the mill:
-Verso is marketing the mill to prospective buyers, using a consultancy firm known as Moelis and Company. Moelis’ information about the mill prepared for prospective buyers is apparently being prepared at this time.
-An effort is being made to arrange for the mill to be purchased and operated as a cooperative. This effort is being organized by the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (GLTPA) and has cooperation from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) which is a state agency, as well as from the Innovation Center - Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture and from the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. For more information see our page “Resources for Task Force Members” and look for the pull-down tab "Documents for Committee Use" and then look for the heading for “Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association.”
Read more about the Verso mill closing and efforts to assist the community on our “In the News” page.
The task force continues its work. Our page on “Upcoming meetings” has details of future meetings. Video links to our meetings are available.
If you have any questions please see contact information below for the offices of Senator Patrick Testin and Representative Scott Krug.
Representative Scott Krug
Rep.Krug@legis.wi.gov (608) 266-0215
Senator Patrick Testin
Sen.Testin@legis.wi.gov (608) 266-3123