Posted by Harry on 19th Apr 2018

Bitterness and betrayal in American envelope firm's slide

Website targets Cenveo directors

When print workers are made redundant it often leads to bitterness, especially if they feel an injustice has taken place. For instance they are assured their company is doing well one day but the following day the lights go out as the power supplier switches off the electricity. Or the bosses take huge pay-outs just before the company goes down leaving the workers with nothing.

Such a situation appears to have happened this month with the demise of Cenveo in the United States of America where the once powerful printer and stationery firm run by the Burton family filed for bankruptcy. A website calling itself www.printingwikileaks.com and dedicated so it says to the thousands of print workers left high and dry by firms like Cenveo highlights some of the alleged mal practices of the Burton family and other managers and owners of printing companies in the country.

As the website states: “This website is dedicated to the late Jon Taffler — founder of PSI Software — the first company acquired by Printcafe — for $25M.” The site charges the owners of Printcafe of ‘lying’ about the value of the take-over leading to the demise of the outfit. Printing Wiki Leaks continues: “This website is also dedicated to the 10,000+ employees of Printcafe, Cenveo, and The Sheridan Group who lost their careers because of insatiable management greed.”

The main charge of the website is that as the print industry declines unscrupulous executives buy their way into ailing but still large companies, make a series of acquisitions to boost the firm’s books and then pay themselves large amounts of money before the inevitable collapse. And this in the case of Cenveo who had won a Government contract to print the 2020 Census. Seasoned observers of industry may say this is nothing new and it doesn’t happen only in the USA. There are no names linked to the website to reveal its authors although through an email address Print Monthly has asked for a comment from the authors but so far no answer has come back.

As far as Cenveo is concerned the company has filed for Chapter 11 protection in order to find backers to restructure the business which has relied heavily of the declining envelope market. Writing for Bloomberg this month Steven Church and Eliza Ronalds-Hannon comments: “After 99 years of making envelopes that carried America’s junk mail, Cenveo Inc. filed for bankruptcy, blaming a shift by marketers from your mailbox to the internet. Just as online advertising began growing, Cenveo started spending on traditional print media, boosting debt it now says it can’t afford to pay. The company said it plans to restructure its balance sheet while under court protection.”