MADISON — Some employees left their jobs for good at Madison Paper Industries after the mill’s last day of production Saturday, and others will leave within the next one to two months, according to the mill’s president and CEO.

“Everybody is somber but very professional,” Madison Paper President and CEO Russ Drechsel said Monday.

“Everybody knows what tasks they’re responsible for and have been moving forward and completing those tasks,” Drechsel said

On Saturday the mill, which is owned by UPM Kymmene and SC Paper Corp., produced its last roll of paper after announcing in March that it would close permanently, putting about 215 people out of work.

The mill, a producer of supercalendered paper used for magazine publishing, has been in Madison since 1978 and was producing about 195,000 tons of paper annually at the time the closure was announced.

UPM is continuing to seek a buyer for the mill as well as its hydropower assets.


However, Drechsel said Monday that “nothing has changed” in the company’s search for buyers.

While some employees have already left work, others will remain for up to two months to clean up and shut down the facility, Drechsel said.

Mike Croteau, president of the United Steelworkers Local 36, one of two unions at Madison Paper, did not return a call seeking comment Monday.

In April, the U.S. Department of Labor announced federal funding through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to help Madison workers search for and secure new jobs.

“We have a lot of workers over the age of 50 who are probably going to end up taking jobs that will be a significant pay cut,” Croteau said at the time. “Part of the TAA program offsets those lost wages.”

In 2014, the tax valuation of Madison Paper – the town’s largest taxpayer – dropped by about $150 million to its current value of $80 million.


Drechsel said last month that the value of the mill has dropped even more since the announcement that it would close, and mill officials are currently in discussions with the town over a further reduction in valuation, something that Town Manager Tim Curtis said would likely not take place until July or August if it happens.

“Any impact moving forward will be pretty minimal,” Curtis said.

“We kind of have to wait and see just like anybody else as to who the new owners are, what they’re going to do with the property.”


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