Workers at J.S. McCarthy Printers, the Augusta-based commercial printer, have been sent home.

Reno Cyr Sr. Reno Cyr Sr.

Reno Cyr Sr., a longtime employee, posted about the layoff Monday afternoon on Facebook:

“Today I got laid off from work. I have been them for almost 24 years! The printing industry got hit hard from COVID-19. J.S. McCarthy Printers has made it and survived many ups and down. Even expanded and offered a wide array of services. We exceed customer expectations and coworkers treat each other like family. Unfortunately JSM had no choice but restort (sic) to a massive forced temporary layoff. At least I have my health, knowledge, pride, drive and ambition. Our company did not escort people out. As the waves of people left, we said out (sic) goodbyes & good lucks. All I can do is file for unemployment, trim the budget and enjoy my time until employment starts up with JSM or with another company. I wish my fellow coworkers good health, good luck and hopefully I see you in a month or so. Keep up the hope and faith, Reno.”

Reached by telephone Monday at his home in Skowhegan, Cyr, 56, who works in the bindery department, said a lot of workers were let go.

“It’s kind of bad,” he said. “All we can do is try to understand what our owners are going through.”

He said a skeleton crew of managers remained at the company.

Officials at J.S. McCarthy declined to return requests for comment.

“We filled out email addresses so the company can send us more information,” Cyr said, “and critical information for filing for unemployment.”

He noted that many company employees have worked at the commercial printing shop for decades.

J.S. McCarthy is not the first central Maine company to lay off workers.

On Thursday, the Huhtamaki paper plant in Waterville announced the temporary layoff of 102 workers, citing the drop off in demand for school lunch trays and plates because of school shutdowns across the country driven by efforts to slow the spread of the highly contagious and dangerous coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

On March 17, J.S. McCarthy posted a statement on its blog about the measures the company was taking to keep its workforce safe:

“The entire J.S. McCarthy Team is committed to supporting our customers through this unprecedented time. We are monitoring CDC guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic while working to manage the supply chain for our customers who support the essential needs of individuals around the world. The health and safety of our workforce is our top priority, and we are taking measures to ensure they stay safe during this challenging time.

“Our Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certified Production floor is restricted to essential staff and mission-critical contractors, all of whom must follow hygiene procedures. If a press check is necessary, we have a designated office, as well as a safety protocol to host such visitors, provided they have passed our basic screening questions. Such clients cannot access the production floor. We are closed to all nonessential visitors at this time. We are also restricting or eliminating business and personal travel according to CDC recommendations as they evolve.”

At the end of 2019, the company announced the formation of an employee stock ownership plan effective Sept. 1, 2019.

“Over the past several years, we have built one of the most efficient, well-equipped printing companies in the country,” Rick Tardiff, chairman of J.S. McCarthy, said. “As a result, we have been approached by many companies that have wanted to buy J.S. McCarthy. I have considered many of these offers as a way for me to exit the business, and my thoughts always returned to how a sale would affect my family, the employees and our community. After thoroughly considering all options, our family has decided that best way to continue the business well into the future is to form an ESOP, an employee-owned company, which means that every one of our employees will benefit from the continued success of J.S. McCarthy.”


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