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Management Side
Quad/Graphics cutting jobs, shifts at facility

WASECA, Minnesota (From the Mankato Free Press) -- Quad/Graphics (formerly Brown Printing) is restructuring to have the plant focus on printing special interest and professional journal publications, leading to reduced shifts at the plant and the elimination of 50 jobs.

After the cuts, to take place in April, the number of jobs at Waseca's biggest employer will have declined by 40 percent since Quad bought Brown Printing in 2014. They had 750 employees at the time and are under 500 now.

Claire Ho, corporate communications director, said the company, which has 57 plants nationwide, is looking for a better way to operate. "Our Waseca plant is particularly good at special interest publications and journal work and that is a growing area for us. Because they're good at that and some of the other long-run titles they were doing were causing bottlenecks, we are going to dedicate the plant to special interest and journals."

The plant will move from a 24/7 operation to a three-shift schedule Mondays to Fridays.

"People won't have to work weekends or have mandatory overtime," Ho said.

The workers losing their jobs have the option of working at another Quad plant, particularly at plants in Wisconsin, Ho said. Those who relocate will get a $10,000 commitment bonus and $10,000 for relocation costs.

"We have a great need in several of our Wisconsin plants. We understand it might not be possible for everyone to pick up and move, so for them we have separation pay assistance, continuation of health care coverage and a career transition service."

Gary Sandholm, Waseca's economic development coordinator, said the loss of employees is always a blow.

"It's kind of the nature of the beast in that sector right now, unfortunately. The good thing is they're still a very significant presence in the community. You don't like to see it, but we'll have to work with it," he said.

He said that Quad will remain the biggest employer in the community after the job cuts.

While magazine circulation and printing have declined, Ho said there is a stronger market for publications that cater to special interests, like hobbies, science, technology and medicine, as well as professional journals.

"We believe print will always have a place. Publishers and marketers need to use multiple channels," she said.

"We have excellent talent and equipment in (the Waseca) plant. We're looking at doing good things in Waseca going forward."

Wisconsin-based Quad also has a printing plant in Shakopee and a large creative studio in Bloomington where they do video and photo work.

Quad paid $100 million for Brown Printing, which also included a Brown plant in Illinois and one in Pennsylvania. Brown Printing was founded in Waseca by the late Wayne "Bumps" Brown in 1949.

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