The Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) has informed its employees that the paper mill will be idled and will not resume operations until later this year.

Based in Lake Forest, Illinois, PCA attributed the decision to “economic conditions”.

Located in Walla Walla County, Washington, US, the pulp and paper mill produces around 1,800 tons of unbleached paper and corrugate medium daily. Approximately 300 of the 450 PCA employees at Wallula are expected to be affected by the shutdown.

Corrugated products facilities in Richland and Wallula are not affected and will remain open, the company said.

No WARN notice issued

PCA’s decision did not fall under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires companies with 100 or more employees affected by layoffs to give advance notice.

According to the Washington Department of Ecology, PCA employs approximately 300 people at the pulp and paper mill and 155 at the unaffected container plant.

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 PCA is the ninth-largest employer in Walla Walla County, with 450 workers in total, according to economic data compiled by the Port of Walla Walla.

Reemployment prospects are positive, says Tri-City Development Council

While the Tri-City Development Council president Karl Dye said that the news was unfortunate, he added that workers across various skill and education levels are in high demand in the Tri-Cities, and the local economy should be able to reemploy the affected workers.

PCA is one of North America’s largest containerboard and uncoated freesheet producers

The PCA is among North America’s largest containerboard and uncoated freesheet producers in terms of production capacity.

With roughly 15,100 employees, the PCA operates mainly in the United States. Its Packaging segment comprises seven containerboard mills and 86 converting operations.

In 2022, the PCA shipped 63.4 billion square feet (bsf) of corrugated products, producing around 4.6 million tons of containerboard. PCA’s Paper segment operates as Boise Paper, a Division of Packaging Corporation of America.