Employees respond to Penguin Random House closures

By Haley Burton
By Matt Porter

February 7, 2014 Updated Feb 8, 2014 at 2:10 AM EDT

Kirkwood, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Penguin Random House distribution center in Kirkwood will close by June 2015, something that surprised workers.

The company announced its plans Thursday to close two distribution facilities, Kirkwood and Pittston.

Larry Butler, a warehouse worker for 20 years, said he knew there would be changes, but thought the Kirkwood facility would be safe.

"I think we always felt the Pittston warehouse may close, and jobs come from there," Butler said. "But I don't think we ever saw the Kirkwood warehouse closing."

Butler said the warehouse had been doing more work than less in the last few years.

"Obviously there would be changes somewhere along the way," he said. "But I still think that we all pretty much thought we were safe."

Penguin Random Houses is unifying the U.S. distribution for its publishers' book titles from four operation centers into two facilities in Maryland and Indiana, said Stuart Applebaum, spokesman for Penguin Random House.

Applebaum said it was a "very difficult and tough" decision with several factors deciding the closure of the Kirkwood facility including processing capacity and the impact of geographic locations on delivery speed and freight costs.

Applebaum declined to comment on how many people are employed at the Kirkwood facility, citing company policy.

The closure process will begin in Feb. 2015 and the facility is expected to be closed in June 2015.

"Business will continue as usual in the Kirkwood facility for the next twelve months," said Applebaum.

Relocation opportunities will be available for some positions, according to Penguin Random House.

"We are beginning discussions with our colleagues in Kirkwood on transition support" said Applebaum.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.