Guild tried for buyouts -- process "distasteful. unclear"

Dateline: Sun 17 Aug 2008

The Guild at the Indianapolis Star tried to get Gannett to offer buyouts to the 23 employees who are targeted to lose their jobs. Here is the memo sent out Friday to employees"

"Aug. 15, 2008

"Greetings,

"After the distressing news about job cuts on the way at the Star, the

Indy News Guild officers met separately today with VP of Human Resources James Keough and Editor Dennis Ryerson. Here's what we learned.

"*There will be 23 layoffs company wide, not just in the newsroom.

"*We learned that the layoffs will be by 'seniority and department,' but what that means was not clarified. We don't know how many, or if any, will be in the newsroom.

"*The company rejected the Guild's offer to turn whatever layoffs would

occur into voluntary buyouts, similar to last summer. The Guild today

actually offered to management a proposal that we would forego a contract provision (crudely speaking, the age-old "last hired first fired" clause) this time around and promised flexibility in terms of what compensation those seeking a buyout must receive. We were hoping today to save young employees' jobs, and let mid-career people leave if that's what they really wanted, without raising the cost to management.

"*We have asked our legal counsel through the Communications Workers of

America-The Newspaper Guild to help us interpret what our rights are

contractually. We can tell you they are already on the case!

"*We are going to do all we can, in general, to be of assistance to our

membership, offering guidance as this distasteful and frustratingly

unclear process moves forward. We also will seek out help from you,

the Guild as a whole, for your ideas.

For The Guild ... in solidarity,

Abe, Dujuan, Vic, Sylvia and Tom"

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