Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chronicle close to switching pressrooms

In the next week or so, the presses in this $200 million, 350,000-square-foot printing plant in Fremont will produce their first edition of the San Franicsco Chronicle.

The Chronicle is shutting down its unionized press operations and turning over the work to Transcontinental, a Montreal-based printing company which built this plant at 47540 Kato Road, near the Interstate 880-Mission Boulevard intersection.

Transcon announced previously that the plant will have three presses from MAN Roland, each capable of producing 36 broadsheet pages in full color or 48 pages with 24 pages in color. The presses have been running all week, some days doing complete press runs.

With the switch, some 230 Teamster printers at the Chron will be losing their jobs. We've heard reports that they were picketing the new, non-union plant, but when we drove by Friday to take the picture above, two picketers were eating lunch in a car in a nearby parking lot. We heard that earlier an ink truck, driven by a Teamster, refused to cross the picket line and turned around. The SF Weekly has details about that episode.

The Chronicle has a 15-year contract with Transcon to print the paper. The value of the contract is said to be $1 billion.

The plant is closer to San Jose than it is San Franicsco, which has sparked speculation that it might one day print the San Jose Mercury News or other MediaNews Group papers.

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