California newspaper staffers lose their benefits when they’re put on a 39-hour work week

Employees at the Antelope Valley Press — a family-owned daily in Palmdale, California — were called into a meeting on Thursday valley and told by vice president and general manager Cherie Bryant (at right) that there would be big changes at the paper: Everyone on copy desk – I’m told there are 4 or 5 people on it – will be put on a 39-hour work week, she said, and they will no longer get benefits. Also, a news reporter and a sportswriter were put on “part-time” and lost their benefits.

I have left messages for Bryant and publisher William Markham, whose family owns the 35-employee newspaper. MONDAY UPDATE: They never called back.

* Oct. 2012: Antelope Valley Press goes up against Hollywood Reporter in awards competition (