July 16 2014 12:00 AM

Fearing reprisals, laid-off LSJ worker calls for boycott with 103 jobs lost

The man who posted a video calling for a boycott of the Lansing State Journal hopes his “crusade tugs on (people’s) heartstrings” enough to cause 10,000 readers to stop buying the paper or cancel their subscriptions.

Monday marked the first day that the Lansing State Journal was printed by Advance Central Services in the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker. The closing of the Delta Township printing facility resulted in the loss of 103 full- and part-time positions.

Readers may notice that the size of the paper shrunk overnight. The page size is about 1.75 inches shorter and a half-inch narrower than when it was printed locally.

Last week, a YouTube video surfaced calling for a boycott of the LSJ. The video was posted by a user under an alias account of “Guy Foukes.” (The name is an intentional misspelling of Guy Fawkes, the 16th-century English conspirator hanged for plotting the assassination of King James I. Fawkes’ name and imagery is often used as a symbol of opposition to tyranny.)

The man, who identified himself as an employee of the Delta printing facility, spoke to City Pulse by phone under a condition of anonymity. He expressed concern that if identified, his effort to “stand up for the common man and my fellow workers” could jeopardize his severance package.

The man alleges that workers were not told of the shut down, and that on April 29, third-shift workers learned they were losing their jobs after seeing a small article in the paper they were printing.

“It was a total blindside to a lot of people,” he said. “They were checking the print quality (of the paper), saw the article and knew they were done.”

When the employees were brought into meetings afterward, to discuss unemployment and severance package options, some of them “burst into sobbing tears,” he said.

“Some people had hoped to make it three or four years to retirement,” he said, adding that he felt upper management should have reached out to employees to solicit solutions to avoid shutting the plant down.

He also chastised the paper for making financial gains without reinvesting it into the Lansing community.

“They’re saying that (printing in) Grand Rapids is cheaper but they’re still charging the same amount for their paper,” he said. “They’re not passing the savings onto you. There’s no human element.”

His message to subscribers: "If they´ve lost a job, been outsourced — stand up for the little guy that can´t stand up for himself."

Lansing State Journal and Advance Central Services did not return calls for comment.