[UPDATED] Sun-Times lays off 14 production staffers

The downsizing continues at the Chicago Sun-Times.

The paper confirmed today that 14 production employees were laid off last Wednesday. The paper released this statement after I asked about the cuts:

The Sun-Times has expanded its relationship with Affinity Express for advertising services after moreUnknown-1 than two years of partnership with consistently positive results. This decision will help the company to optimize its ad production operation, but has led to the elimination of certain roles. We are working with affected employees on the transition, which will occur over the next few months.

Guild communications director Janelle Hartman tells Romenesko readers: “These are ad design/layout jobs outside of Guild jurisdiction that have been outsourced to India. Although they are not union jobs, we are still very unhappy about this news.” UPDATE — The Sun-Times tells me their work will be done through Elgin and an office in Manila.

Sun-Times Media laid off 28 photographers six weeks ago when it closed its photo department.

UPDATE 2: Chicago Newspaper Guild president Dave Pollard put out this statement:

The company’s move to outsource its remaining layout department to a firm in the Philippines may seem fiscally prudent in their eyes, but it saddens me. It seems like the company is consistently moving away from what journalism is all about.affinity-express-logo No more photographers, no more people at arms’ length to reach out to and make sure an advertisement is where it is supposed to be in the newspaper. Sure, technological advancements have made things easier, but when all is said and done, the company’s brands are fueled by these employees and journalists who are out in the community — the blood that helps the heart of these newspapers keep pumping. Outsourcing photographers has already created devastating consequences and this most recent move may prove to be just as devastating.

LEE ENTERPRISES USES AFFINITY, TOO: “I work for a small Lee paper in Wisconsin as a multimedia graphic designer. Lee is now laying off designers also. They will be working with a company in Elgin, Illinois who outsources their designing to the Phillipines. Our sales staff will now have to design their customers ads so that the designers in the Phillipines will know what point size to make text. I will be out of my long career in October. Thanks to a(nother) Lee wide initiative!”