WestRock to invest nearly a quarter billion dollars in Covington mill

Investment aimed at improving productivity and increasing employee training


COVINGTON, Va. – WestRock Company will invest nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in its Covington paper mill.

The $248.4 million investment over a five-year period will fund facility and equipment upgrades.

Gov. Ralph Northam helped deliver the announcement Tuesday.

“With more than 3,000 employed by WestRock across the Commonwealth, Virginia has one of the largest concentrations of company operations in the United States, and we are honored that this Fortune 500 company continues to reinvest here,” said Northam. “These significant capital investments will ensure the company’s facility is equipped with world-class technology that will enable it to increase productivity and stay competitive in a global economy.”

The investments are designed to improve productivity at the paper mill and increase employee training at the mill.

About 1,000 people are employed at the mill.

“WestRock means so much to this community,” said Covington Mayor Thomas Sibold.  “With continued investment in this mill, our economy is stronger than ever.”

WestRock pays more than $10 million in taxes to the city of Covington and Alleghany County, according to the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation.

The company also contributes to the local economy with more than $134 million in annual salaries and wages to employees.

Workers are wondering if the investment will have a lasting impact.

"We consider it good news that WestRock is investing in Covington," said Bob Booth, the Covington Paperworkers Union President. "Paper companies have been shutting down mills across the country for decades. We’re hopeful that this news is positive for Covington but maintain a healthy dose of skepticism for any announcement from WestRock."

The union reached a new agreement with the company in May. 10 News has covered some of the complaints the union has filed against the company over conditions workers face.

The union says it’s still trying to improve safety at the mill.

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