Questions abound on buyout offer, Guild counterproposal on the way

Guild President Tim O’Brien and other members of the executive board gathered with a handful of members for a brief informational meeting on the company’s proposed editorial buyout initiative Monday.

Tim outlined the details of the company’s one-paragraph proposal, which include:

  • three weeks pay per year of service with a minimum of 15 weeks and a maximum of 52 weeks’ pay.
  • an equal number of weeks of health insurance coverage.

According to Tim, the company also plans to offer buyouts to exempt employees, but it is not clear whether the exempt offers will be limited to the editorial department, as the Guild buyouts would be, or will be company-wide.

First Vice President Lindsay LaFountain suggested that employees in other departments could be interested in buyouts and recommended raising that possibility with the company.

Those gathered at the cafeteria table quickly came up with a number of questions about the proposal and its implications for health insurance deductibles, early retirement penalties, and whether the buyout would, in fact, provide an incentive for the most senior employees.

Other details that remain unclear are whether specific job titles are being targeted and how many positions the company is seeking to trim. It also is unknown whether the offers would reflect the differential payments typically paid to employees who work nights and weekends.

A committee is being formed to explore these and other questions and to craft a counter proposal to present to the company. Members at this point are:
President Tim O’Brien, Chief Steward Brian Nearing, Artist and Executive Board Member Jeff Boyer and Page Designer Gillian Scott.

At least one more member may be added to the committee, which is expected to begin working immediately.

Tim stressed that the Guild leaders want to act quickly to clarify questions and reach agreement with the company on a proposal that can be presented to members for a vote.

Under our contract, a buyout offer must be approved by the membership.

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