SF Chronicle Publisher Frank Vega (photo left), known as “Darth Vader” by friends and foes, says the paper “has been in discussions with a third party” about contracting out its printing. That would leave the Chron’s 450 union printers and mailers without jobs. Newspapers & Technology, a printing trade publication, says a Canadian firm, Transcon, may be a contender for the job. Locally, the San Mateo Daily Journal and the Daily News Group (Palo Alto Daily News, San Mateo Daily News, etc.) outsource their printing to Southwest Offset in Redwood City. Southwest also prints the 70,000-circ Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif, at its Southern California plant.