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Tacoma nailed again

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    From The Pipeline:

    TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

    FROM: DAVE ZEECK

    DATE: SEPTEMBER 8, 2008

    Beginning today we’ll be offering a Voluntary Separation Program to 54% percent of the full-time employees of The News Tribune. We have reviewed all positions in workgroups throughout the company and identified positions that may not need to be replaced or could be filled internally if vacated.

    This selection isn’t a reflection of the value of anyone’s work or personal contribution; it’s a measure of changing technology, consolidation, and necessity. Although the group to which we offer this program is large, we anticipate that a relatively small percentage of the group will apply.

    It’s premature to establish a target or quota right now for this Voluntary program, although we may limit the number of applications we accept given business needs or to ensure that no one area of the operation is unfairly impacted. We will evaluate the number of employees leaving under the Voluntary program; how work will be reallocated and consolidated; and what additional expense reductions may still be necessary. Then we will determine if additional staff reductions must be made through an involuntary severance program and communicate that to you as soon as possible.

    Eligible employees will receive individual information packets later today. More information about the program will be discussed in department meetings.

    You know the reasons why we’re doing this: the economic downturn and the continuing transformation of the newspaper industry’s traditional business model. You also know that we’ve initiated a series of cost-control measures and reorganized parts of our operation to deal with these issues. Because the economic downturn persists with no signs of easing, we must further reduce expenses.

    We’ve continued to analyze our operations and will spend the rest of the year seeking ways to be more efficient and productive. But those measures alone aren’t enough. That’s why we are also implementing a move to a 37.5 hour standard work week for hourly employees, which will begin Oct. 13. This measure came in response to some employee queries about and offers to reduce work hours, and in part, to help mitigate workforce reductions by as much as possible. More details on this issue also will be offered in department meetings today.

    I know these are difficult, stressful times. But I also know that the work we do is important, and I want to reassure you that our overarching focus remains the same: to be the most trusted supplier of local news and advertising for the South Sound.

    We are the dominant medium in the South Sound because at key points throughout our history our predecessors made difficult decisions. We have steered through wars and paper shortages, changes in ownership, depressions and recessions, and dealt with ever-changing technology and the threats and opportunities they presented. Newspapers are still the most robust advertising medium in America, and we’re attracting more readers than ever. The challenges may keep coming, but the outcome will remain the same: The News Tribune will survive, and even thrive.

    If you have any questions about the Voluntary program or this transition, please contact Cynthia Shaffer at xxx-xxxx If you have any questions about departmental or structural changes, please contact your department manager.

    I want to thank you for everything you are doing on behalf of The News Tribune. We all have dedicated our careers to informing the public, helping businesses succeed and bettering this community. Fortunately, it is precisely that public mission – and the local news and advertising staffs that accompany it – that place us in the best position of all our competitors going toward the future, even with this latest round of cuts.
     
  2. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    54 percent of the workforce?

    Holy shit. That's a big-time number right there.
     
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Offered to, not sure of the actual target.
    Still a bundle, as you said.
     
  4. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Oh, right. I misread that.

    Still, that's a lot of people to be offering buyouts to.
     
  5. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    That's the percentage of employees who will be offered the buyout, not how much will be cut.


    From the memo:

    It’s premature to establish a target or quota right now for this Voluntary program, although we may limit the number of applications we accept given business needs or to ensure that no one area of the operation is unfairly impacted.
     
  6. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    In other words: They're telling more than half the newsroom they can be replaced. But, hey, it's not a reflection on the work you do.
     
  7. MMatt60

    MMatt60 Member

    I assume they are cutting hourly employees from a 40-hour week to the 37.5 hours mentioned.

    So those employees are getting a pay cut of, what, 6.25 percent? At least that's the way I read it.
     
  8. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    So we're going to cut the amount of hours you work as we cut the amount of people working with you. And, we'll expect the same quality/amount of work, yet wonder why we won't get it.

    I'll leave the rest of this unsaid.
     
  9. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Good luck to the first staffer who holds the joint accountable by punching out after clocking his 2,250th minute in a given week (that's 37.5 hours). Anyone who does that will probably be placing themselves on an upcoming "involuntary separation" prospects list, or be targeted for the "re-assignment to very miserable duty" detail.

    At least in sports departments, the idea of a 40-hour work week is fantasyland, but a lot of us willingly logged 50+ when you felt like you were part of some team and working toward some common good. When you know, absolutely know, that you're now seen as an unwelcome expense and someone either to a) shed or b) double-up the workload on when a co-worker gets shed, donating 12.5+ hours a week is going to grate a lot worse than donating those 10+ hours.
     
  10. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Joe, as usual, you hit the nail on the head.
     
  11. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Tons of good people there, including a couple I know quite well. Best wishes to all of them.
     
  12. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Went to college with their new EE... good luck to all..
     
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