The Times Exempt: One manager per 2.5 workers

Walking the halls of the Times Union, you would not think the workers inside are a particularly unruly, undisciplined bunch who need constant guidance. But a look at the count of the workforce shows just how top-heavy the place is with exempt employees.

According to documents provided by the Company in May, there were 108 exempt employees who oversaw people working in Guild jurisdiction. (This includes the publisher, general manager and a few others who oversee people both inside and outside the Guild.) Some of those folks have left or are taking the recent buyout, bringing that number closer to 101. At the same time, the buyouts are leaving some 250 Guild members.

The bottom line? The ratio of managers to employees is about 1 for every 2.5 workers. Now either those half-workers are really unruly, or the place is top-heavy with management.

This issue came into play as the union issued its first proposal on the proposed newsroom reorganization called Prometheus. The Company’s plan calls for four positions now within the Guild to be converted into exempt positions. (The union has said that cannot legally be done.) At the same time, those four additional “managers” would oversee 9 fewer workers. All of this in the name of “streamlining” the operation.

The Company’s proposal would also strip most of the Class A positions out of the bargaining unit. The Guild’s proposal calls for none of our positions to be made exempt and for other “Team Leader” positions to revert to Guild jurisdiction when their occupants leave.

You can read details of the Guild’s proposal here.

“At a time when the people who are doing the work are seeing their jobs being cut, we should not be seeing more and more exempt people ‘supervising’ them and spending most of their time doing our work,” said Guild President Tim O’Brien.

Guild International Representative Jim Schaufenbil, who works with contracts across the country, describes the heavy concentration of management in Albany as “staggering.”

Company leaders said they would examine the union’s proposal and respond. The parties are scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. next Thursday, July 24. Employees are free to attend on their own time.

3 thoughts on “The Times Exempt: One manager per 2.5 workers

  1. Oh gosh.

    Folks, this stinks and don’t be afraid to speak up and say so.

    I love this place but that doesn’t mean I’m going to roll over and let the company impose on me its version of reality. It’s important for all of us to do what Tim and the bargaining committee members are doing. Listen to what the company says and carefully, clinically, deconstruct the happy-talk.

    Why do we need one manager for every 2.5 Guild members? Where’s the cost effectiveness there? How can they just say four people are no longer members of Guild? I’ve been trying to get Tim to issue a memo unilaterally naming the four newest Guild members: George Hearst, Mark Aldam, Rex Smith, and Kathy Hallion. Why not? If they can create new exempt managers, after all…

    We need to coldly evaluate this steaming plate of garbage they have slid across the bargaining table to us.

    They’re going to tell us that the paper’s going to hell because of industry trends and the economy. They’re going to tell us that the only way to save this ship before it really starts to list is by getting in THEIR lifeboat.

    But there are many ways to paddle forward, and that’s what bargaining is about.

    Don’t be scared, and don’t let them try to scare you.

    –Dan

  2. One manager for every 2.5 workers?
    Step upstairs to Marketing, where it’s literally one manager for every one worker. If this were a teacher/student ratio, it’d be the best private school in the area. Instead, it’s a department where most of the managers manage themselves, if that. It’s time the Guild takes inventory of these MINOs (Managers In Name Only) and brings that to the bargaining table.

  3. Pingback: Guild proposes to move 11 exempts to union « Albany Newspaper Guild blog

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