Publishers Printing to close Shepherdsville plant, move employee - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Publishers Printing to close Shepherdsville plant, move employees to Lebanon Junction

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Publishers Printing will close its iconic Shepherdsville plant in the next year or so as it moves employees and equipment to its larger Lebanon Junction location.

The announcement came in a memo to employees on Monday in which the company also said employees will begin working a four-day schedule where workers will for the first time have to come in on weekends.

The company, which employs more than 1,300 people, did not announce any immediate layoffs, though an official acknowledged there will likely be a reduction in the workforce. Publishers, which prints specialty and trade magazines, had about 1,700 employees a decade ago.

In an interview, Dick Ryan, vice president of sales and marketing at Publishers, said the shuttering of the Shepherdsville building and new work schedules are necessary to save money and “keep us competitive.”

The Shepherdsville building has been owned by the Simon family since 1959, but Ryan said there is “not a lot of room to grow” and the Lebanon Junction plant is nearly three times as large.

The memo to employees says the merging of the two plants will begin on Oct. 3 with some Shepherdsville equipment being shut down and an unspecified number of employees being transferred to Lebanon Junction.

The Lebanon Junction plant is about 700,000 square feet and employs about 700 people already.

Some presses in the Shepherdsville plant will likely continue to operate for at least part of 2017, according to the memo.

"We expect to have the majority of the company on the four-day schedule at our Lebanon Junction facility by January 1, 2017," the memo said. 

Ryan acknowledged that many employees will not be happy with the changes and some may quit rather than drive to Lebanon Junction or change their work schedule around.

“We’ve been on a five-day schedule forever,” he said. “Nobody likes change.”

But the memo, written by Michael Simon, who took over the company after the death of his brother, Nick, earlier this year, said the new schedules will save money and “improve teamwork and productivity while decreasing absenteeism and turnover.”

The change will also allow the company to invest in new equipment, according to the memo.

“Our ultimate goal is to continue under the ownership and management of the Simon family and to be considered one of the best places to work not only in Bullitt County, but in the state of Kentucky,” the memo concludes.

While no layoffs were announced, Ryan said there “could be some reductions down the road. We think we will lose some people, unfortunately.”

Ryan said the company has about 130 temporary employees, who would be the first employees to be let go if need be.

“In a perfect world, we won’t layoff any of our full-time employees,” Ryan said. “We’ll always be a significant employer in Bullitt County.”

He said he doubts the company will fall below 1,100 total employees.

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