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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Controversy over Vertis plant closures in Ohio and Ontario persists on line


My initial post on 6 February 2013 appeared as follows:
The closure of a Vertis Communications plant in Medina, Ohio has been scheduled for May 1st  and will lay off 53 workers.  Based on an article in today's Medina Gazette, this matter seems to be attracting less controversy than the same company's January closure of their plant in Fort Erie, Ontario.
http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2013/02/06/53-jobs-lost-after-sale-of-vertis-communications-in-medina/
http://vicg8.blogspot.ca/2013/01/sudden-closure-of-canadas-only-vertis.html
http://vicg8.blogspot.ca/2013/01/mpp-kim-craitor-champions-ex-employees.html

Update on 13 February 2013:

Although a similar article published in yesterday's Medina Post does not mention any labour disputes, the reader comments that have accumulated since 6 February 2013, when the Medina Gazette article was published, suggest that ex-Vertis employees in Ohio may be encountering similar problems to those faced by ex-Vertis workers in Ontario.

Anonymous, who has worked at the Medina facility for a decade, reports that workers received “No severance, no warn pay, no vacation paid out, no straight answers on what was happening to the company for 6 months.”  S/he also claims that, in order to secure his bonus, their general manager informed workers falsely that if the company stayed profitable, there was a good chance it would remain open.  From social-media sources like this one, it still remains unclear what the legal status of the ex-Medina-workers is, whether they have taken any collective remedial action, or whether a union represents them.

Meanwhile, Mad In Canada and Rooster1966 report that the controversy at the Fort Erie plant has still not been resolved.  They say the picket line continues 24/7 outside the closed plant and aims to prevent owner Quad/Graphics from removing assets until ex-workers receive the entitlements they have legally earned.
http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2013/02/06/53-jobs-lost-after-sale-of-vertis-communications-in-medina/   
http://www.thepostnewspapers.com/medina/local_news/article_8b6f38ce-7071-5878-8aa6-91a6f66c5d5b.html

Update on 8 March 2013:

Like the Medina Post, PIWorld.com has turned in another neutralized report on the Medina plant closure:
http://www.piworld.com/article/commercial-printing-news-briefs-printing-impressions-march-2013# 

The following is an Internet link to a letter dated 3 March 2013 from James A Thibert, General Manager, Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation, outlining Mr. Thibert’s version of recent events:  http://www.redbulldiaries.ca/node/3025



Detailed information on the recent escalation of Ontario protests by ex-Vertis employees is available on the Website of CHCH Television (based in Hamilton, Ontario) at:
http://www.chch.com/component/k2/itemlist/search?searchword=vertis+communications
http://www.chch.com/home/item/11669-vertis-workers-say-they-were-stiffed-on-severance

But at least someone is still happy with Quad/Graphics:  their shareholders.  The company enjoyed profits of $21 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 and on Monday March 4th declared a quarterly dividend.  Shareholders of record on Monday, March 18th will be given a dividend of $0.30 per share on Friday, March 29th
http://sussex.patch.com/articles/quad-graphics-posts-4q-profit-sales-down-7
http://www.jagsreport.com/2013/03/quadgraphics-plans-quarterly-dividend-of-0-30-quad/