New York Times aims to trim staff by 30 through buyouts

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson told her staff this morning that she’s seeking 30 managers who aren’t in the union to take buyout packages. “There is no getting around the hard news that the size of the newsroom staff must be reduced,” she says. “I hope the needed savings can be achieved through voluntary buyouts but if not, I will be forced to go to layoffs among the excluded staff.”

Her memo adds:

The Newspaper Guild has asked that we offer Guild employees the opportunity to apply for buyouts. We have agreed to do so. I will be sending all Guild employees a letter outlining the steps to take to be considered for a voluntary buyout.

Employees have until Jan. 24 to decide whether to take a buyout.

* New York Times seeks buyouts from 30 newsroom managers (nytimes.com) | The memos (observer.com)

Read the Guild’s memo to Times union members after the jump.

Sent: 12/3/2012 9:19:13 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Guild UNION TIMES: Voluntary Buyout to be Offered to Some Guild Members

VOLUNTARY BUYOUT TO BE OFFERED

After learning that excluded managers in the Newsroom would be offered voluntary buyouts, the Guild recently approached Times management to pursue that same option for its members – and was successful.

This negotiation process led to today’s announcement that buyouts would be offered to Guild members in three areas: the Newsroom, security and ad makeup. Only employees in these three departments are eligible. It is important to note that these buyouts for Guild-represented employees are purely voluntary…there is no target number for participation, and the Guild has been assured that no layoffs of union members are contemplated at this time. The Guild pursued this option because some members had indicated to us that they were interested in a buyout.

Times management has committed to seriously considering the acceptance of as many of our members as possible. However, The Times is under no obligation to accept applicants whose job functions are critical to the operation.

As many of you already know, the buyout package for Guild-represented employees was not reduced during our recently concluded contract negotiations. The Guild buyout provision still provides three weeks severance pay per year of service for employees with 11 or more years of service, with a cap of two years pay. Employees with six or more years but fewer than 11 years of service would receive 30 weeks of severance pay, and employees with less than six years of service would receive 15 weeks of severance pay. In addition to severance pay, employees with fewer than 11 years of service would receive four months of paid medical coverage, while employees with 11 or more years of service would receive eight months of paid medical coverage.

Guild members will have 45 days to apply for the buyout. Applicants will be informed within days of submission whether they have been accepted and when their final day of employment will be.

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