The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia

Layoffs announced; totals not yet final.

June 28, 2019billrossInquirer

Dear Guild Brothers and Sisters:

We apologize for a day of no information on the layoff situation. That is because it has been a fluid situation since our initial meeting at 11 a.m. As of 6:30 p.m. Friday, when we suspended talks until Monday, the planned layoff total
stood at 6 people – 4 in the newsroom and 2 in advertising.

In addition, the Company announced Friday that weekly hours are being reduced to 30 for two full-timers that fall under the finance department.

The total planned layoffs in the newsroom could drop further. That will depend on the decisions of some Guild members there who were informed of reassignments Friday and are taking the weekend to think about whether to stay or go.

The Company Friday morning initially identified 8 Guild members for layoff – 6 from the Inquirer newsroom, 2 from advertising.

It is with frustration and disappointment that the Company has opted to proceed with any layoffs. They are not a sign of innovation, as was promised for our future when the Inquirer was donated to a nonprofit.

Our position remains that the 22 people who volunteered for the buyout should be enough sacrifice from an already lean staff in a media company that wants to be the model of greatness in the 21st century and beyond.

We have heard that the public responded to our pleas for support by sending numerous emails urging Publisher Egger to opt against the play of hedge funds: involuntary job cuts. But the Company remains insistent on getting to 30 Guild job

What’s additionally infuriating is that 3 Guild members from the newsroom have opted to leave for other jobs, yet the Company says they don’t count toward the 30 total cuts sought. The Company says those people are part of attrition “built
into” the annual budget.

Also maddening is that the Company has rejected buyout applications from 4 Guild members in advertising. Those are 4 people who wanted to leave.

We’re sorry the tension that comes with job loss hanging over us will not be resolved until next week.

And we’re sorry that a Company under the ownership of a nonprofit charged with finding creative and sustainable solutions for the media industry is borrowing from the demoralizing playbook of job cuts.

We continue to maintain that the Inquirer can and should do better.

If all of this has you regretting not applying for the buyout, you are not too late. If you are interested, let us know. That could save someone’s job.

In solidarity,

Diane and Bill