The Buffalo News is laying off 160 production employees as it moves its printing operation to Cleveland in a shift announced earlier this year by owner Lee Enterprises.
The move was denounced by the Buffalo Newspaper Guild, which said it is “devastated” by the job loss.
“We believe The Buffalo News should be printed in Buffalo, not in Cleveland or any other city outside of the Western New York region that we serve.”
The Guild also charged that, since buying The Buffalo News 3 ½ years ago, “Lee has invested little in the Western New York community and has spent more time extracting resources from The Buffalo News.”
The statement adds that the closure “paves the way for Lee to sell the property and funnel the sale proceeds elsewhere.”
This is occurring as Lee reduces the number of print days at publications in favor of digital, while selling some publications.
Lee reported $70 million in total digital revenue in Q3, a 15% hike YoY. Digital now accounts for 41% of its total revenue.
According to station WGRZ, John Fletch, the president of Buffalo Local Mailer Union #81, is one of those losing his job.
Fletch comments that the reporters’ deadlines “are even shorter now, and the news will be even older now.”
The Buffalo News had two printing presses that were installed at a cost of $40 million in 2004 by then-owner Berkshire Hathaway, the paper reported earlier this year.
Lee Enterprises also agreed to sell the newspaper’s five-story headquarters to Amherst-based Uniland
Development Co., but that deal did not happen.
This story was updated.