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One of Oldest U.S. Papers May Lose Printing House in Northampton

Since 1786, the Daily Hampshire Gazette has been printed in Northampton, Mass. (Dougtone/Creative Commons)
Since 1786, the Daily Hampshire Gazette has been printed in Northampton, Mass. (Dougtone/Creative Commons)
July 6, 2020

NORTHAMPTION, Mass. -- The company Newspapers of New England recently announced it plans to lay off all the workers at its printing house in Northampton. It's the facility that prints the Daily Hampshire Gazette, one of the nation's oldest newspapers.

But the Pioneer Valley NewsGuild is urging the public to sign a petition to keep the staff local, rather than outsource the printing to media giant Gannett.

Laila Hussein, one of the 29 people who may lose her job, said it won't be easy to get other work.

"I have a son with a special needs, and it's not easy for me to find jobs," Hussein said. "I need something that is flexible. So, this job was good job for me, because I will go during the night and work at night."

Hussein said some of the printing house and distribution workers are people with disabilities, for whom employment options may be scarce.

In addition to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the press on Conz Street prints the Amherst Bulletin, Athol Daily News, Greenfield Recorder and Valley Advocate.

Bera Dunau is a Daily Hampshire Gazette reporter and unit council chair of the Pioneer Valley NewsGuild, the union that has launched a campaign to keep the printing-house jobs in Northampton. Dunau said the NewsGuild found out about the layoffs just minutes before the public did, in mid-June.

"The reason why we did not have this response immediately was because we had to figure out as a union how we would want to enlist the public, if we want to do that," Dunau said.

Newspapers of New England wants to outsource the Northampton printing and distribution jobs to a Gannett facility in Auburn. The name of the online petition is "Keep the Daily Hampshire Gazette at Home."

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - MA