Employees at the Journal News, a Gannett-owned newspaper in Westchester County, were recently told they all had to re-apply for their jobs. They were marched into offices where they had to explain to corporate executives they had never met, despite working at the paper for years, why they should be “hired.”
There is an excellent story on this and other awful examples of lousy bosses handling layoffs in unconscionable ways here. Here is our favorite line: “Experts also say that sometimes, the bosses doing the firing aren’t uncomfortable. They’re just plain mean.”
We in the Guild certainly think that would apply to bosses who decided the proper way to handle layoffs is to walk up to employees in front of their colleagues and march them off to the personnel office while not one but two security guards sit in the hall, all while the Company is supposed to be negotiating criteria. All we can ask is: Would you want your son or daughter treated that way?
Fortunately, there are limits to what bosses at the Times Union can do because we have a union, even with an illegally imposed contract. The TU could not do what was done in Westchester and it could not decide, as other places have, that it won’t pay severance or provide health insurance. Because we have a union, we still have rights, an ability to negotiate and the ability to challenge the Company’s actions through the legal process.