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Can someone explain to me the idea of layoffs based on seniority?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by schiezainc, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    Howdy folks,

    So, I just found out a couple of moments ago that a newspaper in this state had some (one?) layoff in its sports department and getting the ax is a guy who a lot of people would probably rank as the best and most productive member of their staff. He was cut strictly because he was the low guy on the totem pole and it's a union shop.

    I've been debating this topic for a while now and I just can't understand the logic.

    At my shop, we had layoffs in 2007 but since we're non-union, the people let go were essentially the people valued the lowest. The main casualty, it turned out, was a news editor who was let go because she wasn't as quick a page designer, didn't write anything but a column and, essentially, provided the least bang for the buck.

    Factoring in the idea that those with the most experience would (hypothetically) be making the most, shouldn't layoffs in general be made based on that kind of logic?

    Full disclosure: I am probably one of the three most senior guys in my shop and a layoff policy based on seniority would actually be in my best interest but I can't be anything but against this.

    Interested to see what you guys think. I do hope, however, that this doesn't turn into a pissing match of union vs. non-union.
  2. Uncle.Ruckus

    Uncle.Ruckus Guest

    Yes, by all means, whack away all traces of institutional knowledge. Old people suck. And they smell funny.
  3. Fran Curci

    Fran Curci Well-Known Member

    Not much of a mystery: The union negotiates the contract and stipulates that the people with the most seniority have the most protection. Usually, the union leaders have a lot of seniority. So they are protecting themselves and also assuring that the union keeps employed the people who have been paying dues for years (or decades).

    YGBFKM Guest

    Union supporters can't even post productively.
  5. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    Where did I say any of that?

    I'm just saying that it makes more sense to me, someone who HAS experience and would probably survive cuts, that layoffs should be based on your perceived worth to a company.

    I said nothing about age.

    If Writer 1 is making $50K and writing six stories a week and Writer 2 is making $38K and writing 10 stories a week, why should Writer 2 be let go first? Just because he was hired after Writer 1? Really?

    It doesn't make sense to me from a business perspective. That's all.
  6. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    This is fact.

    YGBFKM Guest

    America didn't get to be the country it is by rewarding merit.
  8. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    See but I've never understood the logic of this in any industry. If a company needs to cut X amount of dollars, wouldn't it make the most sense to cut the highest-paid people so that you would lay off the smallest number of employees?

    I guess if you factored in benefit costs it would even out but still. Just seems odd to me.
  9. Uncle.Ruckus

    Uncle.Ruckus Guest


    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    In addition to Fran's post, two points:

    1) Seniority is seen as a safeguard against favoritism/nepotism and a manager letting some petty feud or vindictiveness determine layoffs.

    2) Historically it has been a way to push everyone's wages higher, because they couldn't just keep clearing out the top-scale (or above) people and bringing in a fresh batch of employees at the bottom end of the scale.
  11. silvercharm

    silvercharm Member

    Exactly. If this were a perfect world, I'd be all for losing the seniority safeguards. But there are too idiot editors, who when told to lop so much in salary, couldn't care less about quality and start chopping the highest salaries possible. No doubt there are veteran slackers at every newspaper, but the same can be said for every age group in the newsroom.
  12. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Stop making sense. We all need to walk around with price tags attached to our necks and a digital display which shows our current value.
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