Board to set membership vote on buyout offer

The Guild reached a tentative agreement with the company on a buyout offer Friday. Under the contract, such offers must be ratified by a vote of the membership.

The Executive Board will meet at 12:30 p.m. Monday in the cafeteria to set the vote. Members are welcome to attend that discussion. We hope to hold the vote by Thursday, and it will be held on the newspaper’s premises. A bulletin will be put out Monday afternoon with details on the vote.

The offer is two weeks for each year of employee service. The company would only agree to a 5-week minimum, far less than what the Guild had sought.

Health care would be for the remainder of the year. The company would not challenge a claim for unemployment.

This week, the company gave two employees nine weeks’ notice of a pending layoff. One, Editorial Cartoonist John De Rosier, chose to accept the layoff.

Under the conditions imposed in 2009 (which can only be changed by mutual consent), the company must offer a buyout before layoffs. Employees will have a short window to consider it, with the deadline set at 5 p.m. Friday, October 19.

The company can choose whether to accept a buyout request.

“We always prefer to see someone leave voluntarily rather than be forced out,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “This offer is less generous than past buyouts, however, so we don’t know whether anyone will find it attractive. We set a fast timeline so we don’t leave the remaining person hanging.”

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