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Danner Press Shutting Down

March 2002
CANTON, OH—More than 350 jobs and over 50 years of printing tradition were scheduled to disappear February 15 with the closing of Danner Press, located here.

Workers were gathered in a warehouse January 22 and told that unless Hess Management, which owns the company, could find a potential buyer, it would close its doors. The lackluster publishing industry and the U.S. economic downturn were cited as reasons behind the move.

Hess Management, based in Austin, TX, also owns The Press of Ohio in nearby Brimfield, OH, and a pair of D.B. Hess print production facilities in Illinois. None of these facilities is expected to close.

According to Richard Wines, president of Offset Workers Local 544c, a member of the Graphic Communications International Union, employees were informed that they would receive no severance or vacation pay, and their health insurance benefits would expire February 15.

"The reaction was mostly shock," Wines said of the announcement. "We'd been hearing rumors...scenarios that could happen. Hopefully someone will come forward and buy (Danner Press). Who knows?"

Wines was not optimistic. He says the company was in a shutdown phase, and that only existing jobs would be finished. Employees were also told that the company had sent a letter to customers, notifying them that they were closing.

Wines adds that union counsel Ron Macala, who also represents Bindery Workers Local 26-B at Danner Press, was investigating the company's failure to comply with the national WARN act, which requires 60 days' notice prior to plant closings.

Wines reveals that at least two groups had investigated the possibility of acquiring Danner Press, including an effort led by Steve Rossi, company president. Neither Rossi nor Roy Mayers, president of Hess Management, returned phone calls seeking comment.

Hess Management acquired Danner Press and The Press of Ohio from the Beddor Group in 1991.
 

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