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March 25. 2013 6:31PM

NH Union Leader considers outsourcing printing and inserting work

Notices of anticipated and potential layoffs in the New Hampshire Union Leader's printing and inserting departments are being distributed this week under provisions of the state and federal WARN acts.

A total of 35 full-time personnel, along with some part-time workers, are affected. The newspaper has completed an agreement with Boston Newspaper Printing Pressmen's Union, Local 3, which represents pressmen and platemakers; and continues to negotiate with Manchester Mailer's Union Local 125, which represents employees involved in bundling and inserting the printed papers.

The WARN act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) requires 60 days' notice when a layoff of a certain size is planned or contemplated. In the Union Leader's case, the newspaper is looking at contracting with another New Hampshire-based company for printing and inserting services while it concentrates on its statewide and local news, information and advertising services.

The news company would continue to employ more than 125 people full-time, plus many part-timers.

President and Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid said the investment needed to upgrade the newspaper's 22-year-old press in order to compete with commercial printers was cost-prohibitive and that the company, which is locally-owned and operated, needs to concentrate on providing readers and advertisers with top quality news and information services.

"Outsourcing has made sense for newspapers in a lot of areas," McQuaid said, noting the Union Leader has long worked with several other papers in distribution. He said the potential savings from having an outside vendor print and bundle the paper would help it meet the challenges and opportunities that the Internet and changing reader habits have produced.

"A lot of readers continue to want that printed newspaper," McQuaid said, "and we intend to provide it. Having it printed for us may make it a lot easier for us to do just that."



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