Thursday, February 12, 2009

Transfer news update, more layoffs ahead

In an email sent out today, the Guild reports on negotiations over the potential transfer of the DN copy desk, and describe company plans for further layoffs.

The initial number of employees to be laid off is listed as eight, with a more detailed list of positions to follow. It's said these layoffs are separate from the copy desk transfer, and presumably any losses that may occur as a result of the transfer.

The email also clarifies the status of the copy desk transfer. According to MediaNews SVP of HR Jim Janiga, the final decision to transfer the DN copy desk has not yet been made, and may occur "in March, April, or not at all."

Also new is information that the deadline to receive severance is no longer in effect, and employees may "try out" the SGVT transfer and remain eligible for severance if they decide not to continue their new assignments, according to the email.

This last decision is likely the result of concerns that "not enough employees will apply to transfer," according to the email.

The email also has a list of the effects of the transfer offer.

What would change if members accept transfer?

- vacation accrual cap

- 401(k) match

- no Guild representation

What would remain the same?

- severance benefits, and eligibility to receive EDD benefits

- sick days

- seniority

- wage rate

The company and union are working together to prepare a Q&A to clarify what is known regarding the copy desk move.

Layoffs and transfers discussions consumed all our available time, so negotiations were pushed back to the next session. If you have questions please email us at

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