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When layoffs happen

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Billy Monday, May 11, 2007.

  1. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    There is nothing in my words or attitude that automatically assigns laziness to vets. Far from it, as many vets make the lazy stand out by grinding every shift as hard as they did when they were just starting. I speak of the possibility that a Union's role and power can be abused by some. I made no blanket statement regarding how all vets are, nor about how all youngsters are.

    That would be like me extrapolating what Starman said into an attitude that all youngsters are both dumb and have no clue what to do in a newsroom. Which is not what he meant. In fact, I would add to Starman's statement the fact that sometimes Unions can protect those same kids who come in with a sense of entitlement, despite a lack of practical know-how.
  2. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    i wasn't pulling a six-shooter out at you, dog ... i hope you know that. but i do see a lotta the attitude here that i described.
  3. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    a pretty simplified take on it.
    I worked at a place that was non-union before being unionized.

    Pre-union, when layoffs happened, you walked into work and hoped you didn't get tapped on the shoulder. Higher-salaried folks were targeted, regardless of years of service. So if you were 55 and had put in 30 years - as many had - you suddenly found yourself out of work.
    We're all in the business. You figure you can comfortably retire with what you have earned at age 55? Because its not like places are champing at the bit to higher older folks with higher salary expectations.
    Layoff days were brutal. People were marched upstairs to receive their severance - and if you didn't like, the company's take was hire a lawyer or fuck off - and then marched out. If you came in to work later in the day, people you knew and worked with for 15 years were suddenly gone. Poof

    So the place unionized. Shockingly (and I don't know the sarcasm font) even more layoffs occurred. But at this point, management was required to inform the employees - via the union - two weeks prior. This allowed for the union to at least attempt to find other ways, though obviously to no avail.
    But those who were targetted knew and had eight weeks notice in which they still worked, were still paid, and could look for other work. At teh same time, bumping rights existed so if it was available, you could at least retain a job. It sounds brutal, but compared to pre-union occasions when a 1-year employee stayed while a 10-year employee - doing teh same job - was gone, there is at least a component of fairness.
  4. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Union here, too.

    First option: Taking a voluntary buyout (and I believe no matter how many years, although last time it was offered to senior employees)

    Next: Low seniority man goes.
  5. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Agreed on all counts.

    I think we can also agree that sometimes people of all ages and experience levels can be great, and some can use a swft motivating kick.

    As for EE94's take: sure, Unions have helped lead to fairer treatment when these things happen. But that doesn't diminish my point that sometimes the Union's existence can be abused by those who think it will protect them no matter what their level of effort is.
  6. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    agreed. nothing's perfect.
    but there's not a whole lot that's fair about someone losing their job - their livelihood, their family's livelihood - because a manager doesn't like them or thinks they are a pain in the ass.
    I've had the misfortune of seeing that happen.
    with a union, there is at least a process where injustices - real or otherwise - can be adjudicated. Its fair and open.
    The justice system isn't perfect - guilty go free and innocent are found guilty - but as Winston Churchill said about democracy, it's the best we've got.
  7. duckncover

    duckncover Member

    What a strawman arguement. These kinds of slackers languish in any organization. Any union worth it's salt will abandon a loser before taking it to an expensive trial. At least mine does.

    Conversely, unions spend much time and money protecting and defending worthy people who have been unfairly targeted by management.

    Very much like our criminal justice system, unions ensure that defendants have rights. In non-union shops, the company IS prosector, judge and jury. No appeal, no nothing. Companies have carte blanch. In union shops, there is at least some sense of justice, some sense of control.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

  9. donaugust

    donaugust Member

    We laid off about 40% of the newsroom work force a couple months ago. Since then, three more people have left voluntarily for other jobs. When should the last sane person jump off before the ship sinks?
  10. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Edited because I disdain post-padding . . .

    See, that's the thing: Unions are here to protect against the situation presented in Starman's post. But as I said, they can also lead to a company being unable to get rid of the people whose hiring Starman laments. If a hiring mistake is made, you're stuck.

    So dammit, we both win.

    As for the other thing:

    Glad you have that situation. Not sure how that eliminates the possibility of Union abuse at other shops, though.

    And I'll have a Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, please.
  11. Billy Monday

    Billy Monday Member

    All right, we get it. Unions are good and bad. Old people and young people sometimes are dead weight.

    How have layoffs been administered in non-union newsrooms?
    Drawing straws?
    Reverse seniority?
  12. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Sorry for the threadjack.

    The answer, Billy Monday, is: many different and unpredictable ways. It depends on the newsroom, its leadership, its ownership, etc. There are places where someone simply pissed off the wrong person, and they end up on the chopping block. There are places where they target the highest-paid. I think the main point you could take from the Union threadjack (The Union jack?) is that everywhere is different. There are a thousand answers.

    But in a non-Union shop, the answer to "How have layoffs been administered?" is "However management feels like doing it."
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