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GANNETT NEWS

More layoffs, restructuring at Westchester


Gannettoid.com | news@gannettoid.com | Posted: Dec. 4, 2009 • Morning report


A memo sent Thursday night from Mike Fisch, publisher of The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., revealed the latest round of restructuring at the Gannett-owned newspaper.

The paper will close its printing plant, leading to the elimination of 166 full- and part-time employees in production and packaging.

According to the memo, which Fisch confirmed to Gannettoid.com was from him, The Journal News, the Poughkeepsie Journal and other commercial clients will begin printing in Rockaway, N.J., effective with all editions dated March 8, 2010.

"While not an easy decision to make, this will allow us to save operating expenses associated with the printing and packaging center, and allow us to avoid major capital investments going forward," Fisch wrote. "It will also give us the opportunity to consider other options for our current facilities."

Fisch also said the paper is now looking to sell the production plant in Harrison.

"Our 232,000 square foot building and the 25 acres of land are simply more than our operations require," he said in the memo. "We will explore a sale with a lease back option for the space we need, as well as consider relocating our offices in the immediate area. The commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis has been retained by Gannett to manage this process."

The Journal News has been in restructuring mode for more than a year. The paper laid off six employees in July, 136 employees in August and 60 in the final quarter of 2008.

According to Fisch, this plant closing is the final phase of the restructuring plans.

Here's the memo from publisher Michael Fisch:

We announced tonight to our production and packaging employees that we would be closing our printing and packaging operations here at One Gannett Drive in early March 2010. The plant closure affects 166 full and part time employees in production and packaging whose positions will be eliminated when the plant closes.

We will begin printing our newspaper, as well as the Poughkeepsie Journal and other commercial clients, at a printing plant in Rockaway, New Jersey effective with all editions dated March 8, 2010.

While not an easy decision to make, this will allow us to save operating expenses associated with the printing and packaging center, and allow us to avoid major capital investments going forward. It will also give us the opportunity to consider other options for our current facilities.

As a result of this action, we’ll also be taking steps to sell our office and warehouse facility and the associated property located in Harrison. Our 232,000 square foot building and the 25 acres of land are simply more than our operations require. We will explore a sale with a lease back option for the space we need, as well as consider relocating our offices in the immediate area. The commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis has been retained by Gannett to manage this process.

These two actions complete the restructuring of the Westchester newspaper operations which we began earlier this year. This approach will allow us to refocus our capital priorities on our journalism, our products, our sales strategies, and re-energizing our franchise.

I would like to express my gratitude to those employees who have served our company so well who will be affected by these changes.

Since this is a plant closure we have notified the New York State Department of Labor and local political leadership regarding this planned change in our operations.

We will hold an informational meeting Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. in the third floor conference room if you have questions regarding these changes.

Mike Fisch
President & Publisher


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