Guild members overwhelmingly approved a buyout offer Wednesday in the hope it would reduce the number of layoffs at the Times Union.
The proposal was approved by a vote of 121-0.
Those who take the buyout would get severance pay as outlined in the contract (generally two weeks per year of service.) They also would get the same number of weeks’ health insurance as they get severance with a minimum of health care through the end of the year.
For example, a person with 20 years’ experience would get 40 weeks’ pay and 40 weeks of health insurance.
Guild leaders had strongly recommended approval of the buyout offer.
“The Company would have been satisfied with just laying people off,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said. “We fought hard to get a buyout offer that would enable people to leave voluntarily. The more people take the buyout, the fewer will be laid off. This shows that when both sides work together, we can come up with an agreement that is in everyone’s best interest.”
People will have until April 15 to apply to Human Resources manager Carole Hess. If you had notified the Guild of a potential interest in a buyout, you will have to apply again. (If you’re going to be away burning up some “use it or lose it” vacation time, e-mail Carole in advance.)
A total of 16 people had told the Guild they would consider a buyout. Since then, the health insurance offer has been improved. If you want to know what your pension would be if you left, Carole can get that information for you as well. Asking for it does not obligate you to retire. (But don’t just ask her for the sake of asking either. We like Carole, and we don’t want to swamp her any more than necessary.)