280 JOBS LOST: St. Cloud printing plant to close in August - KMSP-TV

280 JOBS LOST: St. Cloud printing plant to close in August

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KMSP) -

The 237,000-square-foot Quad/Graphics plant in St. Cloud will go dark in late August, and that means about 280 workers will need to find new work by the end of the summer.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin-based company announced it will close its commercial printing operation and informed employees. The last day of production has not yet been determined; however, the St. Cloud Times reports the decision is the largest single employment upheaval the St. Cloud area has seen in more than a decade.

Company officials say job opportunities will be available at their other plants in Shakopee and Waseca. They added that affected employees still have the skills sought after by the company's network, which caters to special interest and short-run publications.

The closing follows the company's recent $100-million purchase of Waseca-based magazine publisher Brown Printing Co., fewer than 5 years after Quad/Graphics took the reins at the St. Cloud plant following an acquisition of World Color. Last year, the company closed a printing facility in Dubuque, Iowa, that affected 215 workers.

The closure of the plant affects more people than the Verso Paper Mill layoffs in Sartell, Minn., located just 5 miles from the heart of St. Cloud. The plant was closed following a devastating explosion on Memorial Day in 2012. A "clear majority" of the 259 hourly and salaried workers at the mill were let go after fire ravaged the building, and state lawmakers were unsuccessful in convincing the company to approach the disaster as an opportunity to expand. Verso was cited with serious violations regarding the worker who died in the blast.

In 2013, A Montreal-based scrap metal recycling company purchased the Verso property; however, it has remained dormant. This past April, a Sartell High School teacher began a project that aimto transformse portions of the building into sculptures that serve as bicycle racks.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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