ONTONAGON - Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation has called back its employees at its Ontonagon mill.
Approximately 130 employees have been notified via a letter sent Saturday that they can return to the job May 26, said Mike Mullin, Smurfit director of media relations and public affairs.
The layoffs began in November, while some workers remained on the job to tend to the facility.
Brandon Veale/Daily Mining Gazette
Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation has called back approximately 130 workers to work at its Ontonagon mill starting May 26.
Mullin said he could not comment as to if some employees have found other jobs and will not return.
The company understands the hardships of the layoffs, Mullin said.
"The company has understood the difficulties that the market-related downtime brings to the Ontonagon mill employees, their families and their communities," he said. "We hope that by returning the mill to production that some of those difficulties will be mitigated as we afford employees the opportunity to earn income as we make work available to them."
Village Manager Tom Cogswell said he's pleased the layoffs will be over.
"I think the community is glad to hear that the mill is going to reopen," he said. "It's been a long six months and we're just happy to have the employees going back to work."
Elsewhere in the Upper Peninsula, NewPage Corporation employees of the Escanaba plant are facing a second 10-day operations shutdown beginning Thursday. The first shutdown started April 11.
The second shutdown was the result of a continued decrease for coated paper products, according to Shawn Hall, external communications manager for NewPage Corporation, based out of Miamisburg, Ohio.
"We are continuing to monitor the market for coated paper products, and hopefully this will be our last shutdown as a result of the poor economy," she said.
During the shutdown period, all equipment will be taken off-line with the exception of loss prevention and water treatment equipment.
Employees affected by the shutdown will have the option of using accumulated vacation time, personal days or take the 10-day shutdown as time off without pay.
Layla Aslani can be reached at laslani @mininggazette.com.
Escanaba Daily Press Writer Dionna Harris contributed to this report.