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Chicago Sun-Times Lays off 45

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Chicago Sun-Times Lays off 45

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Chicago Sun-Times lays off 45

But Guild initiates plan to avoid newsroom cuts; 25 top management execs each agree to give back a week's pay

The Chicago Sun-Times laid off 45 employees starting Feb. 7, but may have avoided newsroom job cuts with a plan initiated by the Newspaper Guild.

Under the plan, editorial employees will take 651 unpaid days off over the next 18 months, although most of the unpaid leave will be taken before next July 1.

In another cost-cutting measure, approximately 25 top executives will give back a week's pay, Chicago Sun-Times spokesman Charles Champion said.

"Executives here at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Sun-Times Co. voluntarily took what equates to a pay cut, a giveback of a week's pay," he said.

At a union meeting Feb. 12, Guild members signed pledge cards for a wide variety of leave options. The average employee would take two and one-half unpaid days.

Guild unit chairman David Robinson said the plan is intended to meet the cost-savings amount management indicated it needed to achieve.

Robinson declined to give that figure but, with the average editorial pay at $190 a day, the unpaid leave would save about $124,000. In addition, the plan assumes that seven full-time employees will retire, quit or take leaves of absence as planned.

Robinson said the plan resulted from discussion intitiated by the union.

"Last week, when it was becoming fairly apparent to one and all that the paper was considering layoffs, I went [to] the editor, Dennis Britton, and told him if [layoffs] were in fact imminent and he was interested in discussing other ways to accomplish the same ends, I was willing to discuss it, too. …

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