Tech Valley Printing to cut 50 positions

Tech Valley Printing on Thursday told the state Department of Labor it is laying off 50 workers, cit

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

Tech Valley Printing on Thursday told the state Department of Labor it is laying off 50 workers, citing economic woes for the cuts.

The job cuts mark an about-face for the Watervliet printer, which acquired three Capital Region competitors within a two-year period. Its work force more than quadrupled to 130 between 2002 and 2006. The print shop was founded in 1982. In 2004, Tech Valley acquired Baronet Litho in Johnstown and in 2005 it picked up Schenectady’s State Color. Also in 2005, Tech Valley’s Ninth Avenue headquarters underwent a 70,000-square-foot expansion, bringing its footprint to 200,000 square feet.

It then acquired Staffield Printing in Clifton Park in 2006 to help meet robust demand for real estate and want ad publications that combine multicolor glossy and newsprint advertisements. Less than 18 months later, single-family home sales in the greater Capital Region had plummeted to a five-year low.

The company’s Web site was down Thursday afternoon. Tech Valley President John Smith said through his secretary he had no comment on the layoffs.

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

Tech Valley on Tuesday notified the typographical union, which represents a handful of pre-press workers, about the layoffs. 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.

The 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.

The layoffs at Tech Valley continue the Capital Region printing industry’s contraction. Wallace Moore laid off 74 workers in July, when it shuttered its Albany print shop. The plant closure followed R.R. Donnelly & Sons’ 2004 acquisition of the Toronto-based Wallace Moore.

The William Boyd Printing Co. in 2006 also shuttered its plant in downtown Albany. But the book and legal publication printer’s former president Carl Johnson has launched a new Albany operation called Boyd Printing. Like William Boyd, Midnight Enterprises of Cohoes filed for Chapter 11 reorganization after its primary customer significantly reduced its printing orders. But it emerged from Chapter 11 last July.

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