BUCKSPORT – Maine lawmakers and officials are urging a company to quickly issue severance pay to hundreds of workers losing their jobs.

Maine Department of Labor officials say state law requires Verso Paper Corp. to issue severance pay within one regular pay period after employment ends Dec. 31. That means they’d have to be paid by Jan. 8.

Emery Deabay, president of United Steelworkers Local 1188, said the company wants to follow its contract with the union that says the payments won’t be made for three months. A Verso spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment Monday.

Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves is also pressing the company to ensure that “families are treated right at this very difficult time.” He said “they deserve no less for their hard work.”

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