Bargaining team update

The News agreed on Tuesday that no layoffs will be undertaken before the end of next week, while both sides continue to negotiate. In addition, The News has also agreed that, under the contract provisions, any layoffs that would occur would not distinguish between the seniority of full- and part-time Guild members.

As most members are aware, The News has asked the Guild to find $2.9 million in cost-cutting alternatives to mitigate the layoff of 52 Guild employees. With two days of discussions with Management under its belt, the bargaining team will be spending the coming days trying to fashion cost-cutting proposals to preserve as many jobs as possible and secure the future viability of the paper.

The financial information shared with the bargaining team indicates the company, while profitable overall in 2008, lost money during the three-month period from November to January, totaling $1.5 million. Contrary to expectations, the company is projected to turn a profit in February. Without major changes, however, The News projects that it will become a money-losing operation by 2011.

Altogether, the paper is hoping to cut expenses by $15 million, with $8.4 million in cost-saving measures already underway and counted in the paper’s projections for a $6.6 million profit for the year. The balance could come from expense cuts among Guild ranks and the rest of the company. Any Guild buyouts moving forward would count against the $2.9 million figure the union now faces.

The Guild is looking at numerous cost-cutting proposals and doing its best to come up with answers to questions regarding possible buyout extensions or modifications, layoff procedures, and time frames. We ask that you be patient over the next few days, and be prepared to do your part if future workplace actions are necessary.