HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Over 100 years of the Sonoco Hutchinson Paper Mill suddenly came to an end Monday, ending, along with it, jobs for over 100 employees.
Employees found out about the paper mill closing after receiving a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice from corporate.
The City of Hutchinson, as well as other organizations, say they are trying to get ahold of Sonoco’s corporate office for answers.
“Friday, they had predictable employment, and as of Monday, they don’t know what their future is gonna be like, and that comes as a bit of a shock for our community,” said Hutchinson Mayor Jon Richardson.
Kansas Workforceone Business Services Director Tucky Allen says the WARN notice did not provide much of a heads-up.
“In this particular case, they did not afford them the 60 day,” Allen said. “They will, from what I’m understanding, they will pay them for the 60 days, which fulfills their obligation under WARN as their employer.”
Mayor Richardson and the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce President Debra Teufel say this is a setback for the city because it is a large employer, and it has been there for over a century.
Teufel says their priority right now is to get the Sonoco employees a new career.
“Job number one would be that we hopefully can find them jobs right here in Hutchinson, and the good news is right now on that job seeker guide, there are over 50 companies that are actively seeking to hire, and so I don’t think they’ll have a problem finding a job right here in Hutchinson or Reno County,” said Teufel.
Mayor Richardson says right now, they are still trying to get over the initial shock of the news, but they’re figuring out what’s next.
“Is there a chance for the facility to open back up, and if not, what are the plans for the facility? Then try to get some answers from Sonoco corporate in regards to was it purely economic or what other factors may have been involved that we could have had some impact on as a city,” said Mayor Richardson.
KSN reached out to Sonoco headquarters and the local plant in Hutchinson. The local plant declined to comment, and headquarters did not return our calls.
The chamber says the first step job seekers should take is registering with the Kansas Works.
Kansas WorkforceONE and the Hutchinson Chamber encourage people to reach out for immediate assistance or employment help.
Kansas WorkforceONE provides free help to anyone needing resume critiques, training, interview tips and more.
- Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce
- Hutchinson Community College Job Fair
- Greater Hutch
- Other resources