The Blade plans to close the production section of its building in downtown Toledo later this year, according to Stephen B. Spolar, vice president of human resources and labor relations for Block Communications Inc., which owns The Blade.
The newspaper also plans to close its mailing facility on Water Street. The closures would mean the permanent loss of 131 jobs, Mr. Spolar said.
In a letter sent to Mayor D. Michael Collins, Lucas County officials, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in a letter this week, Mr. Spolar indicated that the entire Blade building at 541 N. Superior St. was to be closed.
“The Toledo Blade has developed plans to close its facility located at 541 North Superior Street, Toledo, OH 43660. The entire facility will be closed, and it presently is anticipated that this shutdown will be permanent,“ the letter read. The Blade has operated out of the Superior Street building since May 1, 1927.
However, Mr. Spolar said today in an interview with The Blade that he did not mean to imply that the entire building would be closed. ”It’s the production facility that is in question. Advertising and the newsroom — we’re not getting out of that business,“ he said.
In the letter sent to the mayor, Mr. Spolar said the layoffs would begin on or about Aug. 1. Those affected are involved in the production of the newspaper, not the journalists who gather and edit the news, not the advertising sales staff and not the circulation department.
The company recently proposed to the Joint Council of Newspaper Unions the use of an outside vendor for the production of the newspaper when the current labor agreements expire.
In a recent letter to employees, Blade officials said the newspaper “has been losing money for many years, with losses exceeding $8.5 million in 2013.”