RUMFORD – The families of more than 200 NewPage Corp. employees who were laid off last week are receiving Christmas dinners from the Local 900 paper union.

Union President Gary Hemingway said this is the first time the union has taken such an action.

“It’s such a huge lay-off,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

About 250 people were expected to be without work for nearly four weeks, beginning Dec. 8. Hemingway said the final number came in at 209.

He said the union membership voted to purchase the meals with about $2,090 in union dues last week. The family-sized meals contain everything except the turkey.

He said employees were picking up the boxed meals on Tuesday and will continue until all have been distributed.

The lay-off, expected to end during the first week of January, is market-related.

Employees who work on the No. 15 paper machine, long logs, ground wood, and part of the mobile garage are affected by the layoff.

Mill spokesman Tony Lyons said at the time of the layoff announcement that several other mills scattered throughout the United States would also be laying off workers in an attempt to reduce the amount of light weight, coated ground wood by 40,000 tons.

NewPage Corp. is based in Ohio.

The Rumford mill employs about 1,000 people.

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