The mood is sour in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania, at least for the 165 individuals who just found out they’re losing their jobs.
The workers are employed at a Quad/Graphics printing plant and local news station ABC 16 says factory leaders announced last week that the location will close in June. The reason is the company, based in Sussex, WI, has found itself with excess capacity for a product that is becoming more and more outdated – the phone book.
According to Vox.com, 70 percent of Americans fail to open their phone book a single time before the next year’s copy arrives. Many states legally require that phone books be available to residents, and companies are said to be fighting proposals to phase them out – especially those businesses who sell advertising in them or garner a lot of traffic from their phone book ads. That said, the report claims that throwing away and recycling the nation’s annual phone book allotment – which is somewhere around 650,000 tons of paper – actually costs municipalities up to $62 million.
Companies like Verizon Communications have canned the mass deliveries in many states and allow residents to now request a phone book if they wish to have one. But with this strategy, the writing is on the wall for printers like Quad/Graphics: the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last year than fewer than one percent of legacy Verizon Communications customers actually requested a white pages.
Quad/Graphics will consolidate to meet the reduced demand of its phone book printing operations more efficiently, but because of the “ongoing volume reductions” the workers in Hazle Township will not be offered positions at other plants.