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QUEBECOR GETS GRANT TO TRAIN WORKERS IN WAKE OF CUTBACKS

Quebecor Printing Buffalo Inc. has been awarded a $126,000 skills training grant through the state's Empire State Development Corp. to provide on-the-job training to 150 current employees.

The grant is part of a $1.11 million project designed to cross train the workers in specific skill areas and to reacquaint them with equipment and production areas outside their current duties.

Due to personnel reductions at the plant, many senior workers are being forced to return to jobs they may not have done in years. With the technological changes made within the industry, including new high-technology equipment, retraining is crucial.

The workers are part of a total work force of 774 at Quebecor's Depew plant, which has been downsized from more than 1,300 employees within the last year.

Layoffs were mandated after the plant's Canadian parent lost a large contract to print Reader's Digest magazines, which went to a competitor after the company and its unions could not agree on a no-strike clause in its labor agreement.

Losing the Reader's Digest pact cost the plant about $25 million or 40 percent of its annual sales.

Workers and management last year signed a five-year contract that froze wages for three years and provided employee bonuses in each of the final two years of the pact.

Big Lots closeout store
sets opening Sunday
NIAGARA FALLS -- Consolidated Stores Corp., based in Columbus, Ohio, will open its newest Big Lots closeout store with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Porter Packard Plaza, 6001 Porter Road.

The store is expected to employ about 40 local residents, according to William G. Kelley, chairman and chief executive officer of Consolidated Stores.

Big Lots offers savings up to 70 percent on merchandise that has become available because of product or packaging changes, manufacturers' overruns, discontinuations, liquidations or bankruptcies.

The merchandise varies from store to store and from day to day, but it includes basic housewares, automotive, tools, jewelry, hardware, home decor, paper products, clothes and other domestics.

Sunday's opening ceremonies will include merchandise giveaways, costumed characters and refreshments. Store hours will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Consolidated Stores operates more than 1,930 stores including Big Lots, Itzadeal specialty retail stores, All For One and It's Really $1.00 single price stores, and K-B and Toy Liquidators toy stores.

Local ad exec to address
national police group
Alden Schutte, chief executive officer of the Schutte Group, will address the National Police Commissioner's Convention this weekend in Phoenix regarding an ad campaign the advertising agency created for the Buffalo Police Department.

The multi-media campaign urges local residents to phone 853-2222, instead of 911, for non-emergency matters. Schutte will be joined by his agency's senior vice president, Lawrence Singer.

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