Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers more buyouts

Another day, another buyout offer:


April 9, 2012

To all our Journal Publishing Colleagues,

Our company is continually examining our staffing based on business conditions and our longer term outlook, which often means adjusting these levels to align with our revenues.

One way to achieve that is to allow employees to voluntarily leave the company in exchange for a separation package that may be agreeable and appealing and fits their future plans. We have offered these kinds of programs several times in recent years, as have peer companies in the media industry.

Today, the company is offering a Voluntary Separation Program to all departments within Journal Sentinel, Journal Community Publishing and Community Newspapers Inc., including the corporate IT department.

This voluntary offering is available during April 2012, and is not meant to indicate future voluntary programs or other staffing actions. As we look forward, we have and will continue to invest in new products that are important for our future growth. But today’s announcement means we are looking at ways for the company to best match our staffing with the proper expense platforms.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your department head, or Dan Harmsen in Human Resources, or myself.

Thank you,
Elizabeth Brenner
President & Publisher


From: Tom Silverstein
Date: April 09, 2012 12:15:38 PM
Subject: Guild message on buyout offer from Tom Silverstein

Folks —

If you haven’t seen it by now, the company has sent out a letter informing all members in the publishing branch that it will be accepting buyouts as of today. The letter does not indicate the company has a specific number of employees or a dollar number it needs to shed and it’s possible this is just an attempt to clear some other departments of people who are reaching retirement age. I did speak with [Journal Sentinel editor] Marty Kaiser about the letter and he smartly chose not to predict anything about how this would affect the newsroom, especially in light of previous curveballs the company has thrown at the last minute. I do get the sense that we aren’t being targeted, but I, too, am not going to make any predictions. We will monitor this closely.

Marty has told me to tell all members that if they have any concerns or fears they should come directly to him, George or Marilyn and they will be as forthcoming as possible with you. He said he preferred it come directly from him than from me trying to relay the company’s intentions to you, which I think is prudent. If you prefer not to speak directly to them, feel free to contact me with your questions and I will get answers.

If you’re considering taking the buyout and would like us to help you get answers on pay and benefit questions, feel free to contact your steward, or other Guild leaders such as Karen Samelson, Mary-Liz Shaw or Larry Sandler. The company has retained the right to deny any request to accept a buyout.

I will have a couple more things to say on this later. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to write. I’m working today, but I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.


Tom Silverstein
Local 51 president
The Newspaper Guild


* David Pepin writes: The most painful part of being an unemployed journalist is listening to people close to me question my choice of profession.
* University of Kansas prof’s latest study: How newspaper layoff survivors view themselves.



  1. Hi, James, we should stay in touch on Journal Sentinel isue

  2. Dave Barnes said:

    Take. Run. Get a new job/career somewhere else.