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Thursday, April 19, 2012 03:30 pm

Where are all the paychecks going?

GateHouse and SJ-R mum on jobs sent outside U.S.

Jobs once done in Springfield have been sent overseas by the State Journal-Register, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Department of Labor last month agreed with workers facing layoffs in the newspaper’s ad design department that they were losing their jobs to workers outside the United States. As a result, the displaced local workers are entitled to federal benefits, including employment training and weekly payments.

Three full-time employees and four part-time workers in the newspaper’s ad design department lost their jobs this month. The workers had been notified several months ago that their jobs were being eliminated.

Springfield isn’t alone.

In September, the Department of Labor ruled that former designers at the Rockford Register Star, another GateHouse newspaper, are eligible to apply for job training and weekly payments after state benefits expire because their work has been sent to foreign lands. It’s not clear how many laid-off employees in Rockford will be eligible for the benefits funded by federal taxpayers.

Anne K. Schneider, executive director of Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance, said that nine former SJ-R employees are eligible for federal benefits that include job retraining and extended unemployment benefits while displaced workers are in school.

Chris Kaergard, vice president of the union that represents newsroom and circulation employees at the Peoria Journal Star, said that some ad design jobs in Peoria have also been sent overseas.

“I believe they are keeping some of it in-house,” Kaergard said. “There seems to be a recognition here that it’s controversial.”

It wasn’t controversial in California, where Media News, which owns several Bay Area newspapers, outsourced ad production to India in 2007, according to the company that got the contract.

“In the end, Media News found that the offshoring of ad production did not provide any particular controversy because it was already commonplace in other local employers, particularly the Silicon Valley computer companies which have been outsourcing programming to India and manufacturing to China for years,” an ad outsourcing firm called Express KCS says on its website.

Headquartered in San Jose, Express KCS has a production center in New Delhi, India, where it employs more than 450 people and offers 24/7 services.

Walt Lafferty, publisher of the State Journal-Register, did not respond to an emailed query. A call to GateHouse headquarters in New York was referred to David Arkin, vice president of content and audience. Arkin did not return a telephone message.
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