Friday, June 27, 2008

In Los Angeles

Word is that rolling layoffs begin next week – slowly, so as to avoid a legal requirement to give 60 days notice when planning a mass layoff. Tell Zell offers staff a resignation form they can use to fire final shots as they jump ship. In a memo sent to employees Thursday, LAT publisher Hiller said "Over the next 2 months we will be rolling out our 2010 business plan..." (LAObserved)

Sounds to us like it will also roll out staff over two months and if so, it's a damned miserable way to make cuts.

If the newsroom staff were unionized, they would have more information about the company plan than they do now. Unionized employees have the right to information about and negotiate over how staff reductions will be implemented and how they will be impacted. Labor contracts typically contain language governing layoff effects bargaining and procedure.

In a Wednesday post, InkStainedRetch wrote: "It would be interesting to see if the Sun, a guild paper, was more successful at staving off staff cuts than the non-union papers. There's a direction to go, no? "

Neither the Guild nor any other union can stop an employer from determining the size of the staff it needs to operate its business. But with a guild, staving off staff cuts is possible because the workers have a seat at the table to discuss alternatives that may satisfy the needs of both the employer and its employees. There's no guarantee of course, but one thing is for sure, without a guild you have no say in how or when cuts happen.

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