Friday, November 7, 2008

BANG East Bay lays off 10 more workers

The cutbacks in local newsrooms continue. The Bay Area News Group-East Bay (Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, etc.) laid off 10 people today — managers Jon Kawamoto and Mike Wolcott and eight non-exempt employees who weren't named, according to John Geluardi of the SF Weekly and the Guild's Web site.

The Guild says that about 200 employees are left in the bargaining unit, which a year ago had more than 300.

“I wish circumstances were different, but as you know the newspaper industry remains on unstable ground at the moment,” Executive Editor Kevin Keane wrote in an e-mail to his staff. “While I can offer no guarantees about any further staff changes, I'm cautiously optimistic that the industry will regain its footing soon. In the meantime we wish nothing but the best to our departing colleagues.”

In the spring, 57 newsroom employees took buyouts and in July the company laid off another 38 employees, according to Geluardi.

“This is terrible news, and we’ll do everything we can to lessen the impact on the newsroom and our members,” said Sara Steffens, Guild unit chair.

Steffens was among those laid off in July. Her fellow unit members nevertheless elected her unit chair, and she also serves as a member of the BANG-EB committee negotiating with the management for a first contract.

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