Tech Valley Printing to lay off 50

A print shop that rapidly grew during the housing boom is now following the real estate market on it

A print shop that rapidly grew during the housing boom is now following the real estate market on its downturn.

Tech Valley Printing told the state Department of Labor on Wednesday it will lay off 50 workers. The job cuts mark an about face for the Watervliet printer that acquired three Capital Region competitors within a two-year period and more than quadrupled its work force to 130 between 2002 and 2006.

In a Labor Department mass layoff notice, Tech Valley cited economic woes for the cuts. By 2006, the company was rapidly growing. It then acquired Staffield Printing in Clifton Park to help meet robust demand for real estate and want ad publications that combine multicolor glossy and newsprint advertisements.

Less than 18 months after Tech Valley’s deal for the 55-year-old Shaffield, single-family home sales in the greater Capital Region had plummeted to a 5-year low. In 2004, Tech Valley acquired Baronet Litho in Johnstown and it picked up Schenectady’s State Color a year later.

Tech Valley’s Ninth Avenue headquarters in 2005 underwent a 70,000-square-foot expansion, bringing its footprint to 200,000 square feet. The company’s Web site was down today, and President John Smith did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

“It’s really impossible to get any information about what has transpired there,” said Kari Bienias, secretary-treasurer of the New York Typographical Union, an affiliate of Communications Workers of America Local 14156.

Tech Valley notified the typographical union, which represents a handful of pre-press workers, about the layoffs on Tuesday. The cuts will affect three of its members, leaving four others on payroll. Between October and January, Tech Valley laid off two other typographical union members, Bienias said.

Graphic Communications International Union Local 259 also has a presence at the Watervliet print shop. Union President James Quick did not immediately return a call Thursday seeking comment.

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