DALTON, Mass. (AP) — The western Massachusetts company that has provided the paper used to make U.S. currency since 1879 has announced plans to lay off 55 workers.

Dalton-based Crane & Co. says the job eliminations announced Wednesday are part of a consolidation plan to rejuvenate the 211-year-old paper company's stationery business.

The Berkshire Eagle (http://bit.ly/N2vN07 ) reports that layoffs will be gradual until consolidation is complete early next year.

Crane plans to relocate its two stationery operations in Pittsfield and one in Dalton to its facility in North Adams.

Crane employs 850 workers in Berkshire County.

Crane said it will offer severance packages or other positions within the company to those likely affected by the downsizing.

Crane CEO Stephen DeFalco says the changes are necessary to make the stationery division "more competitive and relevant."


Information from: The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle, http://www.berkshireeagle.com