Jostens Confirms: Topeka Plant To Close

By: Melissa Brunner, Suzie Gilbert
By: Melissa Brunner, Suzie Gilbert

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Jostens spokesperson confirms the company is moving production from its Topeka facility to Clarksville, TN.

Jostens spokesman Rich Stoebe says the transition will allow Jostens to take advantage of improved technologies, innovation and workflow efficiencies in Clarksville as well as to respond effectively to changing market dynamics.

Jostens officials say approximately 372 employee positions located in Topeka will be affected by the transition, while approximately 87 positions, mainly in customer service, art, marketing and technical support, will remain in Topeka.

Stoebe says due to the time necessary to transition some of the operations, the affected positions will be separated starting in July of 2012 and will continue over the fall of 2012. He says the transition is expected to be substantially complete by January of 2013.

Carla Wall, a gathering operator at the plant, says the company called a meeting at 12:30 Monday afternoon. Wall said the CEO flew in for the meeting. She said Jostens officials told employees that due to an increase in technology, and students doing more online, that they would phase out the Topeka plant.

Wall says Jostens officials told her the Cover and Art Departments would be phased out in mid-July, and the Binding and Press Departments would be phased out in September.

Wall says Jostens officials told employees equipment from the Topeka plant would be transferred to the plant in Clarksville, Tenn.

Wall said the company officials didn't share severance package information with employees. She said Topeka's plant is the only union Jostens plant in the U.S., meaning, Wall says, the Topeka workers would be the highest paid.

The Topeka facility employees more than 400 people. Wall added that the plant employes about 200 seasonal workers every year.

Last May, Jostens announced it was moving its diploma cover production from Topeka to a facility in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The move affected more than 80 jobs. The company said the move would allow it to take advantage of improved technologies and workflow efficiencies.

At one time, Jostens had more than 1200 employees in Topeka. That was back in 2004, when the company positions to make the Topeka plant its only location producing yearbook covers.

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