Unlike the Times Union, the Washington Post has been losing millions. But when it came time to settle a contract with the Newspaper Guild, the Post agreed to limit the number of people laid off outside of seniority and to protect workers from being laid off and their work outsourced.
Here’s a quote directly from the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild’s Web site:
“The Post demanded absolute flexibility in conducting layoffs with seniority as only a part of these decisions. After heated discussions, we arrived at a compromise solution which would allow The Post to exclude up to 25 percent of employees in a section targeted for layoff from consideration for layout. After that, the remaining 75 percent of employees would be laid off by seniority. This largely maintains seniority protection for long term employees as well as giving shorter term employees the possibility of being excluded from layoffs.”
And on the issue of outsourcing, the language in the tentative agreement says that no one could be laid off as a proximate cause of outsourcing.
Publisher George Hearst likes to talk about the state of the industry and what is happening elsewhere. We’d be happy to talk to him about why the money-losing Washington Post is willing to be flexible on the issues of seniority and outsourcing. And we are hopeful that, if his proposal receives the defeat it deserves, he will be similarly flexible at the still-profitable Times Union. In good faith, we expect that kind of approach would result in an agreement we could recommend.