Union has been making ink in New Jersey for 87 years and this is certainly the end of an era. For years I did classes at Union’s Ridgefield, NJ factory and the owner (second generation) and good friend, Richard Labov, (who passed three years ago) will be rolling over in his grave to hear this news. Richard, and son, Daniel sold to Rutland about five years ago and Daniel moved on while Richard stayed and worked there until just a few days before his death.
As many of my former students will attest, we always promoted Union Ink (for over 30 years) and at one time we were a large dealer for them in the Phoenix area. My kids grew up hanging with the Labovs and often joked that Richard was actually “Uncle Richard.” In fact Mike Fresener is now a Union Ink dealer with his Independent Print Supplies company in Kentucky.
I first heard of the factory closing from good friend and long time Union Ink employee, Joe Catizone while Mike and I were at the SGIA Show in Orlando. Joe seemed very upset by this turn of events because it was truly the end of an era.
The problem is that Union Ink is and was like a family. It has (now had) about 50 workers and many of them had been there for a LONG time. Yes, some were offered to relocate but most of the others are being laid off.
While it does make financial sense for Rutland to consolidate production it is still like a death to the workers and the history of a great company and people.