Sun-Times Media, Tribune ink print production contract
SUN-TIMES MEDIA July 19, 2011 10:02PM
The Sun-Times will close its printing plant at 2800 S. Ashland and eliminate about 400 jobs. | Keith Hale~Sun-Times
Updated: July 20, 2011 2:34AM
CHICAGO — The Chicago Tribune will begin printing the Chicago Sun-Times and seven of its sister newspapers — including The News-Sun — under an agreement announced Tuesday.
Jeremy Halbreich, chairman of Sun-Times Media LLC, said the deal will save the company more than $10 million a year and allow investment in editorial content and advertising sales. The agreement will cost about 400 workers their jobs.
The affected employees work at the Sun-Times’ printing plant at 2800 S. Ashland Ave., which will be closed. The printing will move to the Tribune’s Freedom Center in late September. “This has been a very, very difficult decision,” Halbreich said. “But in my role, I have got to do things that keep our newspapers in business.”
He said the papers in Sun-Times Media’s ownership will benefit from greater capacity for color printing, which includes the ability to sell more color ads.
Halbreich emphasized that Sun-Times Media publications will remain independent. The Tribune already distributes the Sun-Times and the suburban papers under an agreement dating from 2007.
Most of the 400 workers to be laid off are union members. Halbreich said all are receiving 60 days’ notice of termination in keeping with state law, although some jobs may last a little longer.
He also said the Tribune will hire up to 100 people to handle the new work and could choose some of the Sun-Times’ workers. A mix of union and non-union staff handles Tribune printing and distribution.
Besides the Sun-Times and News-Sun, the agreement covers the Beacon-News in Aurora, the Courier-News in Elgin, the Herald-News in Joliet, the Post-Tribune in Merrillville, Ind., the SouthtownStar and the Naperville Sun.