Foreign trade ruled a factor in Newberg paper mill closure

Foreign trade contributed to the November 2015 closure of the Newberg WestRock recycled paper mill, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has determined. About 200 workers lost their jobs in the closure, most of them members of the Assocation of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW). WestRock, based in Georgia, announced the closure three weeks after acquiring the Newberg mill as part of its purchase of SP Fiber. The DOL found that the closure was in part a result of increased imports from Canada, China and other countries.

Because of the DOL ruling, the workers will be eligible for trade-related dislocated worker benefits including a health coverage tax credit, income support for those who’ve used up all their unemployment insurance and are enrolled in a training program, and extra help for those 50 and older who are reemployed at a lower wage than at their previous job.

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