There will be no names or numbers on layoffs this week.
In most departments, the Company said layoffs would be done in reverse order of seniority. Exceptions would be made for almost all of editorial as well as for advertising artists and marketing media specialists.
The Company must negotiate the criteria first before it can announce the names of people who will be laid off, but department managers all said they had done a “test run” of their criteria by applying it to individual names. In other words, they’ve got their lists but want to go through the motions of appearing to negotiate.
The Company also said it would accept further buyout applications if anyone wanted to step forward. It also said it would reconsider at least some of the four buyout applications from Guild members it rejected.
In a moment, we’ll share with you the Company’s documents outlining what they said would be the criteria for layoffs for each of 11 job titles. We had thorough discussions of all of them that ended after 6 p.m. Tomorrow, Guild President Tim O’Brien will be on leave and will work out a schedule for people in those job categories to meet and discuss the proposed criteria with Guild leaders.
The two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 1. The company contended today’s meeting started the 45-day clock on layoff notices, meaning that employees would be let go effective Monday, Aug. 10. The Guild believes the 45-day notice begins when a list of employee names is produced.
For the titles of advertising artist and marketing media specialist, the list of eight criteria is identical. In these two instances, the Company said it would rank employees in each of the first seven areas with a score of one to three. It would then add up the scores. In the event of a tie between workers, seniority would then be used to decide who stays and who goes.
In editorial, the Times Union produced an 18-page document that was riddled with typos, punctuation errors, missing words, and words in nonsense order. O’Brien called it “an excellent example of why you need content editors.” He said it was stunning to realize the people responsible for presenting such a document would be judging others’ performances.
Sample question: “Arre the reporter’s language skills — spelling, grammar and vovabulary — sufficient?”
Fortunately for you, the document was e-mailed to the Guild as nine different two-page documents, one for each of the affected job titles. We’ll share those in a second. Now we’re going to try to explain to you how the Company would use this form.
(You might want to get a couple of Tylenol and a glass of water ready.)
First, it would use the two-page questionnaire to evaluate each employee, with employees rated by a score of zero, one or two points for each answer. A zero would mean an employee doesn’t meet expectations, a one would mean the worker meets expectations and a 2 would mean the employee exceeds expectations.
Different questions would be weighted differently, again on a scale of 1 to 3. For example, the answer to the question “Does the reporter’s work regularly make it to the front page and section front positions?” would be weighted with a factor of two. The employee’s score would be the points multipled by the weighting. (An employee who meets expectations for getting work out front would get a score of 1 times 2 or 2.)
In another example, the question “Is the reporter reliable or punctual?” would have a weight of 1. So an employee who met that criteria would get a score of 1 times 1.)
(Hey, don’t blame us. We didn’t come up with this system.)
But that’s unfortunately not it. The Company would then use your score on the evaluation and apply it to six other areas to make a final decision.
We realize if you’re not confused by now, there is either something wrong with you or you have a great future in management. This is why we will schedule meetings with individual groups. There is only so much clarity you can provide in a blog, and at this hour after a long day, we’re not entirely sure we’re up to the task.
But before we go, here is the last bit of information we’d like to share with you. These are the nine editorial titles and the two-page questionnaires the Company proposed for each:
- Content editor
- Page designer/artist
- Page designer/editor
- NIS Coordinator
- NIS Associate
- Editorial Assistant
- Wire Editor
And the Company said on the reporter evaluation form, it gave the wrong numbers (and in one instance no number) for the weight factors. The first four factors on page one of the reporter form are supposed to have a weight factor of 2. The top factor on the second page is supposed to have a factor of 3, and the second question is supposed to have a weight factor of 2.