Wisconsin Sen. Baldwin urges Verso to operate or sell mill in letter sent to board
October 30, 2020
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (From news reports) -- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) has sent a letter to the Verso Corporation Board of Directors to either run the mill or sell it, for the sake of their employees.
According to a media release, Senator Baldwin previously wrote to Verso Corporation and urged them to find a buyer that is committed to keeping the proceeds from the facility's operations in the community. Thursday, following the announcement that Verso Corporation has suspended plans to find a buyer for the Wisconsin Rapids mill, Sen. Baldwin said she's urging the board to resume marketing the mill.
The facility directly supports more than 900 workers in the region.
"Many in the community were hoping for a quick sale to a buyer that would operate the mill and preserve its nearly one thousand jobs. The disappointing news that the sale is on hold raises concerns that Verso will close the mill instead of selling it to an operator," wrote Senator Baldwin in her letter. "I write to request that you resume active marketing of the mill, giving full and fair consideration to local buyers, and honor your commitment to treat the employees of the Wisconsin Rapids mill with "fairness and respect."
On July 31, the Wisconsin Rapids mill idled and 902 workers were laid off. On August 6, just one week later, Verso announced that it would spend $100 million on a special dividend and $150 million on stock buybacks.
Baldwin says the board waived the stock performance requirements to allow Verso's executives and directors to earn millions in bonuses despite not hitting stock price targets. She stated the Board claimed holding the executives responsible for the decline due to the pandemic could lead to the executives leaving Verso.