Layoff Q & A

Aug 23, 2011 by

Several stewards and Executive Committee members have gotten questions from coworkers about the upcoming reduction in force at the Post-Dispatch and we will do our best to answer them. On those which the Guild couldn’t answer (because it involved management), we asked Astrid Garcia, P-D Vice President of Human Resources.

1. Several people recently left the paper, do they count as part of the 10 people Lee Enterprises is looking to layoff?

The Guild couldn’t answer this one, so we asked Astrid Garcia. She replied: “Nice try – Arnie tried that one too. But the savings need to come from where the paper is now.”

2. If I don’t volunteer to be laid off and the company goes bankrupt later and then I get laid off as part of a bankruptcy restructuring, will I still get my severance?

The short answer is ‘probably.’ A lot depends on the type of bankruptcy, whether or not things have already been worked out with the creditors (prepackaged) – one of which would be the Guild, by the way – however nothing about bankruptcy reorganization is absolute. Were that to occur, it doesn’t seem likely that Lee would want to get into a big argument that would hold up the court’s approval on it’s reorganization. Still, one cannot and should not make any guarantees.

3. Will they lay off managers if the company does not get 10 volunteers from the Guild?

Again, we asked Garcia, who said: “There is always a possibility to lay off managers but we can’t say at this point.”

4. If the company does not get 10 volunteers and begins involuntary lay offs, can those with more seniority then choose to step forward and volunteer to be laid off to save another employees job?

Astrid replied: “We will look at it but we cannot commit to anything at such a late date.”

(Note: BTW, there have been instances when someone did step up at the last minute and the company allowed them to go but they did not undo any of the dismissals; they simply expanded the layoff. This happened in advertising and, while I’m not saying that such would definitely be the case here, it could possibly happen again.)

5. If there are layoffs and if junior people are exempted by the company, will the Guild publish those names?

Since someone might lose his or her job as a result of these exemptions, it seems absolutely necessary for there to be as much transparency about the entire process as possible. So yes.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

If layoffs do occur, how will they actually unfold?

Aug 23, 2011 by

There’s been some questions regarding the process and order of the company’s scheduled reduction in force. Let me state up front that I can’t speak for the company but, based on past experience, this is how it will probably go down:

On September 9, the paper will call for a meeting (we tend to find out just minutes before our members, often at the same time). At that meeting they will report which members volunteered for the layoff (something we may or may not already know) and that, because of the projected savings from those positions, whether or not they need to cut any other positions to get to their targeted goal (a figure they have not chosen to share with anyone).

Because our contract now includes a provision that allows management to exclude a certain number of positions from layoff, the company would then, if they desired to use that provision, inform us of the names of the employees they were choosing to protect, as well as the names of the employees that they were dismissing. All of this can be found in our contract in Article 14 (Security), Section 2 – pages 33 and 34.

The company, had they not already started to do so, would then begin notifying the affected employees and “such dismissals shall be made effective two weeks after the date of the notice…” (Art 14, 2). This could mean that the employees will be required to work the two weeks or the company could decide to dismiss them immediately and pay them for the two weeks. Both situations have occurred since layoffs started at the paper (the contract states that it is the employer’s option). However, management once left it up to the employees to decide whether or not they wanted to work their final two weeks or just leave and be paid for it.

Anyone with questions about this or any other issue, should call the Guild office at 314-241-7046 or contact their steward.

read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This