Philadelphia Inquirer shutters printing plant, cuts 528 jobs

The Philadelphia Inquirer said it will lay off 528 people when it shuts down the printing plant where the paper and the Philadelphia Daily News have been printed since 1992.

The grisly headcount, filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor in recent days, is slightly higher than 500 layoffs that were expected when publisher Lisa Hughes made the surprise announcement to staff on Oct. 9 that the Inquirer was closing the Schuylkill printing plant and outsourcing to a Gannett-owned plant in New Jersey.

The Inquirer said it is negotiating with a buyer for the site, but declined to disclose details. Separately, the Inquirer said it was also laying off a handful of journalists. John Doyle, president of Teamsters local 628 which represents over 300 of the workers said he was “blindsided” by the announcement last month.

The Philly papers are the latest in big city dailies to outsource printing in a bid to cut costs. News Corp said in September it is closing the Bronx plant that prints the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s and shifting its printing to a New York Times-owned facility in College Point, Queens.

The latter facility is already printing the Times, some local editions of USA Today, as well as Newsday, which outsourced its printing there in 2018.

A WARN notice filed with the New York State Department of Labor on Oct. 20 said 381 workers from the Bronx plant will be laid off commencing Jan. 31, 2021.

Last month, the Tribune Publishing-owned Hartford Courant, which has been printed in the Connecticut capital for 256 years, said it was shutting down its printing plant and outsourcing it to the Massachusetts plant that where the Springfield Republican is printed.

Amazon last month said it was paying $63.2 million to buy the land and printing plant where the Orange County Register once printed in Santa Ana, Calif., and planned to demolish the buildings and erect a 112,485-square-foot warehouse. The Register had already sold the building and presses to an outside developer in stages in 2014 and 2016.

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