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Can you hear me now? You're fired

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by OTD, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    Hope this isn't a D_B. If so, Mods please delete. Anyway, nice way to say Merry Christmas, Singleton!

  2. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    When the National Post in Toronto laid off something like 110 employees -- newsroom employees, about a third of the staff -- this is how they did it:

    First off, there was no warning, no rumors. Those getting laid off were called back from the road or called at home and told to come to the office. While a bunch of people sat in the newsroom -- the saved, looking at all the empty desks and wondering what was going on -- the rest were met at the door and herded into the cafeteria.

    There, they were told, en masse, that they were being laid off.

    They were given, (I believe, I had already left the paper), something like five minutes to clear out their desks. (They may not have been allowed to return to their desk at all; at most, they got five minutes.) I think management was worried that people would try to sabotage computer systems and so on -- also why, I can guarantee, the Merc is doing it by phone.

    Each of the laid off journalists was then met by an HR wonk, who showed them a severence agreement. It was pretty generous, but if they signed, the employees agreed never to bring in the lawyers. I think most thought to hell with it, and signed.

    That night, there was a wake at a local bar. Much weeping.

    But, and I say this in all honesty, just about everyone laid off ended up better off than those who had to stay with their guilt and fear in a hollow shell of a paper. There was something pretty depressing about going into what was once a full and vibrant newsroom and watching tumbleweeds blow across the carpet.

    There's no good way to do it, but it seemed especially brutal... Oh, and it came a few days after September 11, 2001, on the heels of everyone working 18 or 20 hour days and doing some remarkable work.
  3. suburbia

    suburbia Active Member

    Nice to see they at least got some severance out of the deal. At JRC, when they want to do layoffs, they fire you over not having a college hockey box score in the paper or something seemingly trivial like that.
  4. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I would think the way to get around that is you claim the document was signed under duress and during a time of extreme emotional upheaval and with no opportunity for discussion with family or an adviser.
  5. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Which, as I've found out recently, your end will be backed up in court (no, it wasn't a newspaper job dispute).
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    So if no non-union employees are laid off, can the union come back at Singleton with a union-busting lawsuit or something to that effect?
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