LSC Communications Is Expanding Mattoon, Ill., Facility, Closing Its Gallatin, Tenn., Plant

Small towns across America are highly dependent on the large manufacturing facilities located within their local communities to provide good-wage jobs and benefits. Based on two recent corporate decisions by LSC Communications, the community in Mattoon, Ill., has reason to celebrate, while local residents and small businesses in Gallatin, Tenn., are facing the expected fallout of a major employer leaving town.

Chicago-based LSC Communications is planning to expand its manufacturing operations and workforce headcount at its Mattoon, Ill., book, magazine and catalog printing facility in 2017, the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier reported. At the same time, The Tennessean revealed that LSC Communications is planning to close its 42-year-old Gallatin, Tenn., operation, with layoffs of approximately 144 workers employed there beginning in late March. The Gallatin facility once employed more than 620 workers, making it the largest private employer there at one point, the newspaper said.

According to The Tennessean, LSC Communications cited “changing market conditions” as a reason for the closure in a letter that was sent to the city. “(LSC Communications) has been a provider of great jobs for a long, long time,” Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown said. “They have certainly made a grand imprint on Gallatin and we are very, very sad with this announcement.”

The mood, meanwhile, in Mattoon, Ill., is much more upbeat.

As reported in the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier, Paul Smith, VP of operations at the Mattoon plant, indicated that various equipment upgrades and new work will result in the addition of about 50 new full- and part-time positions there. “We are installing a couple more pieces of manufacturing equipment, as well as upgrading and expanding several manufacturing assets so that we can better serve our customer base,” Smith was quoted as saying. “Additionally, several of our existing customers are moving additional titles to Mattoon and we are on-boarding a few new customers, as well.”

He noted that additional hiring is also being driven by the desire to reduce overtime hours for the gravure and web offset printing facility’s existing workforce, which is targeted to eventually reach around 800 full-time workers this year.

“We produce over 500 million bound products annually; serve the magazine, catalog, retail, financial and government print sectors; and have multiyear contracts with our largest customers,” Smith said, noting that production runs range from 100,000 into the millions.

The newspaper added that LSC Communications is scheduled to host a career fair for prospective employees from 9 am to 6 pm on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Burgess-Osborne Auditorium, 1701 Wabash Ave., in Mattoon.

LSC Communications was created as a publicly held spinoff when RR
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