Saturday, July 7, 2007

Chron layoffs loom; too few take buyouts

Layoffs could be ahead in the Chronicle newsroom because the number of employees who have so far accepted buyouts has fallen short of the company's goals, local Guild president Michael Cabanatuan (pictured) tells the East Bay Express.

Before this round of layoffs began, the Chronicle had about 400 people in its newsroom. Management has said it wants to cut 100 newsroom employees — 20 from management and 80 from the union. The 20 managers were cut first. Cabanatuan says about 50 union workers have accepted the buyout offer, which is two weeks of pay for every one year of service, topping out at one year of pay. If layoffs were to occur, the Guild contract calls for employees with the least seniority to be cut first.

"The Guild is hopeful that layoffs can be averted and will work hard toward that end," Cabanatuan tells EBX. "Job reductions of the magnitude being carried out in the Chronicle newsroom are incredibly disspiriting not only for many of those who leave but for those who stay. The buyout process has been traumatic for many people but layoffs would devastate morale as well as the careers and lives of many fine journalists."

Cabanatuan says the following union employees have officially accepted the buyouts either voluntarily or at the request of the company:
    Anne Schrager, photo technician
    Christina Koci-Hernandez, photographer
    Elizabeth Mangelsdorf, photographer
    Glenn Martin, reporter
    Heather Jones, copyeditor
    Ilene Lelchuk, reporter
    Patrick Hoge, reporter
    Keay Davidson, reporter
    Kathy Seligman, features reporter
    Mike Weiss, features reporter
    Pia Sarkar, business reporter
(Photo credit: Northern Californ Media Workers Guild)

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