According to a memo sent out to guild members last night, The New York Times will keep staffers it plans to lay off next week — as many as 26 of them — on the payroll until December 23, “several days longer than planned.”
This extension is related to a dispute between the union and Times management over calculating seniority and “several related issues,” the union said in the memo yesterday, which was obtained by FishbowlNY. The dispute went before an arbitrator last night, and he is expected to rule on the matter Monday. The Times will then provide the guild a list of those targeted for layoffs before dropping the axe. Apparently, seniority will be playing a factor in who the paper decides to let go, so the guild wants to make sure it is correctly calculated before final decisions are made.
But, the guild said it has waived its requirement that it be notified about who will be laid off one week in advance. That means employees should be given the bad news early next week, after the arbitration is resolved.
The guild also reported total numbers of those who took buyouts on the edit and business sides of the Times:
“Management informed the Guild that it has accepted a total of 74 News-side employees (60 Guild and 14 non-Guild) for the buyout. That leaves the possibility of as many as 26 involuntary reductions in staff, given that The Times announced its intention to eliminate 100 Newsroom positions by the end of December. On the business side, 61 people submitted buyout applications and the company accepted 42 of the applicants.”
We have also heard that many members of the guild leadership were among those who took buyouts, so they will have to be replaced in the new year. No word on how a new leadership might affect contract renegotiation next year.
Times executive editor Bill Keller announced in October the paper’s intention to cut 100 newsroom staffers. Monday was the deadline for those who wanted to take buyouts, so it’s been a tough week at the Times.
With all of the good-bye parties for buyout-takers this week, and layoffs on tap for next week, December 2009 will go down as a very black month for The New York Times.
Previously: Recapping the Times Buyouts