Leave now and we will tell you if you are laid off later

Just when you think the Company’s behavior can’t get any worse…

An employee in sports was walked to the door tonight and told he was being placed on 45 days’ paid leave. Sometime during that time period, he was told, he would be informed if that leave would become a layoff, which was “likely.”

Never mind the fact that the union and the Company are in the midst of negotiating layoff criteria. Ignore the fact that the Company’s attorney said in our last session that employees would get 45 days’ notice of any layoff. And of course the Company did this without any communication with the Guild.

And when Guild President Tim O’Brien called Carole Hess to ask how many other employees were being given the same treatment, he was told he would have to speak to Publisher George Hearst. Hearst, of course, did not answer his phone.

The Guild has fired off an e-mail to the Company stating that its actions are improper and illegal, and the union demanded the Company immediately cease and desist.


  • JiNX-01

    I am OUTRAGED that this newspaper — whose publisher has professed on many occasions his pride in the (once) decent treatment of Hearst employees — has taken steps designed to humiliate and demean people who have served this company well for years.

    This is an absolute disgrace and George should be ashamed to have permitted even one instance of such cruelty. This won’t be forgotten — not at the Times Union, nor in the community.

  • Parannoyed

    As one of those spared in the sports department, for however long that lasts, my relief is overshadowed by sadness over the way things are being handled. The employee who was told to leave is one who painstakingly strove to do his job as well as anyone I’ve ever worked with, and as good a content editor as he is, he is a better man. He will remain a better man than those who saw fit to terminate him in the coldest, most heartless fashion.
    George, take off your expensive shoes for once and imagine walking in ours. How would you feel if this happened to you? Nice to know you’re keeping your hands and manicured nails clean amid the bloodletting.

  • David Filkins

    My sympathy goes out to all of you. You’re slaving away at the office while I’m enjoying a decent smallmouth bass outing.

  • Worker Bee

    Surprisingly, at least one exempt from the newsroom was marched out this morning. This is a sad day for everyone.

  • tokeeffe

    My thoughts are with all the terrific people I had the privilege to work with during my time at the TU (1986-98). I can’t believe the newspaper is treating people with such complete disregard. It’s a horrible thing to witness, even from afar.

  • Seamus D.

    Can somebody explain the Guild’s hangup with layoffs that don’t follow seniority pecking order?

    Shouldn’t younger employees to be able to advance based on merit (experience is a component of merit, but its clearly not everything). On that same score, don’t senior employees need to keep their skills sharp (which they have no incentive to do if they’re not competing for their job with a less experienced, but more motivated, harder working, employee). This isn’t a very stable industry, and nobody’s job is a shoe in 3 yrs down the road… so isn’t this a “teach him to fish” issue for the stereotypical lazy senior union member that wants to laxidaisically (sp?) sit there and benefit from years on the job?

    Finally, senority works good when employee hours are fungible. But in a more technical, specialized business environment, doesn’t the employeer need the ability to determine the skill set it needs going forward, and isn’t it crucial that skills/ability/merit – as opposed to unmitigated observation of seniority rules – be the touchstone of retention/advancement?

    I’ve no ax to grind… just wondering what the institutional position on your end is.

  • lbj

    …and doesn’t a senior employee who’s given a company the best years of their career have the right to protect their pension and retirement benefits – and themselves – from ageism…and from greedy corporate suites who just want to see them gone so they don’t have to make good on such pension’s or benefits??
    I don’t think most employees in this company believe this has anything to do with “skill sets” and/or “performance.” Maybe only in a sense that the company is hiding behind that veil in hopes of protecting themselves from any future legal action…
    Do you know any of the people who were shown the door? Can you say they deserved to go???? That they lacked in performance or skills? They are part of an agenda….Give me a break!

  • JiNX-01

    It’s simple. Seniority is EARNED. It’s earned by loyally serving the employer year after year, decade after decade, passing up holidays at home with their families, missing out on their kids’ sporting events, and school plays. Missing out on concerts and parties, crossing their fingers that they’ll be able to take time off to attend a cousin’s wedding or the out-of-town funeral of an old friend.

    And as the years go by, the new employees wonder why “rank has its privileges.” They can’t fathom the concept of long and loyal service having any value.


    But they will. When it’s their turn to be shown the door because they’re getting older, slowing down and are unable to compete with the spunky new kid in the office who has caught the boss’s attention.

    Wait for it, pal. Your turn will come.

  • ex-employee

    Sorry to say, I don’t think anyone in the generations coming up will have the opportunity to learn what long and loyal service to a single employer is like. We sure as heck will never know what it’s like to collect a pension.

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