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NYT resorts to layoffs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Joe Williams, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Courtesy of Romenesko site, on another dark day for New York Times and this industry overall:

    It appears the Times won't get 100 buyout takers, so "we will -- regrettably -- be forced resort to some limited number of layoffs within the core newsroom," says a memo. "While layoffs have become all too common across our industry, this is the first time the newsroom as a whole has confronted that blunt reality, and we approach it with a heavy heart." The voluntary buyout window is still open for a few more days.

    http://www.observer.com/2008/times-we-expect-layoffs
     
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    The next person who tells me that all buyouts are voluntary should be slapped...
     
  3. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Gotta love the wording:

    "We will --- regrettably --- be forced . . ." (someone put a gun to your head?)

    ". . . to resort to some limited number of layoffs . . . " (Good news! The layoffs are limited. I really hate those unlimited layoffs, where the entire newsroom gets whacked)
     
  4. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    The buyouts are voluntary in the sense that someone with seniority can volunteer for the buyout, which is presumably exceeds termination pay, to save the job of someone with less seniority who would under most circumstances be the first to be laid off.
     
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I think people hear "buyout" and they think people aren't bullied into taking them... Not all are, but the bulk are scared into taking them, thinking if they don't, they'll just be cut loose later...
     
  6. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    How much of that memo is legit and how much was it designed to hit Poynter and scare up some of the buyout fence sitters?
    I suspect more of the latter.
     
  7. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Would help to know the difference between buyout terms and termination pay.

    Can't imagine that everyone who takes the buyout will get $300K like Linda Greenhouse. Then again, can't imagine that those who are laid off will get two years worth of salary.
     
  8. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Exactly, because who wouldn't take a $300,000 buyout?

    Gosh, the idea of a reporter/writer -- even a special reporter/writer -- getting that much to walk away is kind of amazing to me, which, maybe, tells you a little something about me.

    That said, at at least one major metro, the differences between voluntary buyouts and the packages given to others who may have been "encouraged," pushed or forced to leave in recent years after a voluntary buyout determination period had ended were nonexistent.

    Everyone got the same thing, or, at least, each person got whatever they rightfully would have been due under the buyout plan, whether they had actually volunteered first, or not.

    The company just wanted people to leave, and ended up not making any real distinction, as long as they left in that round.

    Has that been the case at any other places that have had buyouts in recent years?
     
  9. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Union contract at my shop spelled out severance as two weeks per year worked (technically, one week per six months worked) -- that was the exact same pay formula for the buyouts. But the contract doesn't provide for any health coverage, which the buyouts allowed for (a minimum amount of six or eight months, I think).

    If there's no sweetener to leave voluntarily, other than feeling like a good guy for saving someone else's neck, why go? Do you want to jump off the ledge or get pushed?
     
  10. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Several Pulitzer winners taking the buyout, by the by.
     
  11. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I don't think any sweetener is particularly intended for the employees who may leave as a result of voluntary buyouts. The company, after all, can get rid of people via layoffs, regardless, if it wants.

    The voluntary buyout, I think, is actually more of a preliminary process intended more for the benefit of management and administration.

    Its real purpose may be not necessarily to entice employees -- although it may do that -- but rather to make the targeting and execution of employee separations easier and less unpleasant for the bosses, and, theoretically, everyone else, too, by making it so there are as few people as possible who they will have to lead to the edge of that cliff, or push off of it.
     
  12. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Fixed for truth.
     
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