New York Times agrees to voluntary buyouts

Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 19:03:54 -0400
Subject: Guild UNION TIMES: ‘Cost-Saving’ Committee Meets
To: [New York Times guild members]

September 24, 2009

“Cost-Saving” Committee Meets
Times Agrees to Offer Voluntary Buyouts
Pay Cut to be Restored in January

Representatives of the Guild and Times management met earlier this week to discuss the possibility of offering a Voluntary Buyout and to identify cost-saving opportunities that still may exist at the newspaper.

The meeting was part of a process that was agreed to in discussions between the union and company management last spring regarding the temporary 5 percent pay reduction that Guild members approved.

In response to a proposal by New York Guild President Bill O’Meara, Times Senior Vice President of Operations and Labor Terry Hayes said the company would agree to offer a voluntary buyout. However, both also agreed that further discussions would be necessary to work out the parameters of the program, including such factors as eligibility, timing and the number of buyouts available. Hayes added that The Times was agreeable to a buyout “because the Guild and its members ‘stepped up’ to help the newspaper” by agreeing to the temporary pay reduction a few months ago.

When asked about the pay reduction, Hayes said Guild members are “guaranteed” to have their money restored on January 1, 2010, as specified in the agreement negotiated by the Guild.

Also at the meeting, Guild committee members presented a list of ideas to help the company save money in a variety of ways, such as more flexible use of compensatory time, bringing back the four-day workweek (for five days pay), and even reducing the massive amount of paper used in the building. The Guild also introduced several ideas on how its members may be able to help increase circulation.

It should be noted that the meeting took place in a spirit of cooperation between the Guild and management. Hayes said, “We all need to work together in this economic environment.” O’Meara agreed, adding that the Guild was committed to helping to make sure that The Times remains successful.

Management thanked Guild committee members for their suggestions, which they said they would evaluate and revisit in future talks, including more discussion of the Voluntary Buyout program. We will keep you informed when more details become available.

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