News unlikely to bring back retirees as part timers

The Buffalo News is not likely to offer part-time jobs to newsroom employees who take a buyout.

Company executives, during a recent meeting with union leaders, said the current state of the newspaper’s finances make it difficult for them to bring back Editorial Guild members who retire.

Managers said no future newsroom retiree has been offered a part-time position but indicated that could change down the road if The News’ finances improve or if certain staffing needs arise.

They said the use of retirees as part-timers will depend, both in the short-term and

long-term, on how many leave and the type of positions left vacant.

The News’ clarified its position on post-retirement, part-time employment after several Guild members inquired about the possibility but never received a definitive “yes” or “no” answer.

During talks about the buyout, company executives had promised they would let people considering retirement know if part-time employment would be available to them.

During the meeting with management, the Guild also outlined its stance on what work a part-timer in the newsroom could do if the company ever decides to bring back a retiree.

The union has no problem with the use of part-timers providing they do work that is allowed under its collective bargaining agreement with The News.

The agreement is clear, for example, about what type of part-time jobs are acceptable and what are not. It also prohibits the use of part-timers, “where a full-time staffing need exists.”

The Guild’s concern about an expansion in part-time employment is based on the belief that it would lead to a newsroom of part-timers.

In an unrelated matter, The News addressed the union’s concerns about a full-time newsroom employee who is on leave and was told she could come back to the paper on a part-time basis.

The company acknowledged its mistake in dealing directly with the employee, not the Guild, and promised to work with the union on finding a solution. The two sides plan to meet in the near future to discuss possible options, including a job share arrangement.