Thursday, July 16, 2009

Union Says "Commercial Appeal" Considering Outsourcing Printing to Tupelo

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Memphis Newspaper Guild president Daniel Connolly says The Commercial Appeal is considering outsourcing its printing to a press in Tupelo, a move that would put a "sigificant" number of people out of work.

Connolly's letter to guild members: The Commercial Appeal’s management informed us recently that the company is considering outsourcing its print operations to a yet-to-be-built facility in Tupelo, Miss. It would stop printing the newspaper at 495 Union Ave.

This would lead to significant job losses here in Memphis. We don’t have the exact number.

We are exploring options for the 11 workers covered under The Newspaper Guild’s contract and have a meeting scheduled on July 23 with the company.

The background:

The printing workers are covered by three different unions: the mailers, the pressmen and The Memphis Newspaper Guild, of which I am president. Both the mailers and pressmen are associated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

We are cooperating with the other unions as these talks move forward. The Commercial Appeal’s director of operations, Stephen Tomb, described the proposal to outsource the print operations in a June 24 letter to the pressmen.

“As you and the other pressmen are aware, the press equipment at The Commercial Appeal continues to age . . . We believe further capital investment at our current production facility is not the most efficient use of the Company’s resources.”

He estimates that improvements would cost $23 to $26 million and that buying a new press would cost $40 million.

The Commercial Appeal would outsource the work to Journal Publishing Company Inc., which publishes The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and several community newspapers.

According to Tomb’s letter, Journal Publishing Company needs a response from The Commercial Appeal by Aug. 15 so it can include The Commercial Appeal’s printing needs in its design for the plant, which would be ready in 12 to 15 months.

We’ll have plenty of questions for the company at the July 23 meeting, and we’ll pass along more information to you shortly thereafter. Please check this site for updates.

Sincerely,

Daniel Connolly, Memphis Newpaper Guild President

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