Parties aim for Tuesday vote on buyout offer

The Guild and the Company are hoping to get a proposal on a buyout to members Tuesday for a vote.

The final offer has not yet been determined, but the basic outlines are in place. Those who take it will be paid three weeks for every year of service, with a minimum of 15. The Guild proposed the maximum be bumped up from 52 to 62 weeks, which would match contractual severance.

Health insurance would be provided for the same period.

The union dropped its proposal to eliminate the early retirement penalty. Instead, the union proposed that employees with 25 or more years of experience get an extra $15,000. The reason is that employees at that point in their careers would likely be retiring, not moving to a new career, and the extra cash would help make up for a loss in pension income (and a likely reduction in Social Security) from retiring before 65.

Twelve editorial employees have that much experience. There is precedent for this approach, as the company offered added cash to senior employees during a 2008 buyout.

The company has said it is looking to eliminate six to nine positions between exempt employees companywide and Guild-covered jobs in editorial. An offer was sent to exempt workers this week, and the company is asking for the Guild to agree to the same November 9 date for applications to be submitted.

The company has said workers in other departments can apply, but there is no guarantee anyone would get it. Those who do would leave the company before January 1.

The Executive Board will meet briefly Friday once the company finalizes its response to set hours for the vote. The plan is to offer voting both at lunch time and later in the evening for night-shift workers. The company has agreed to allow us to use a conference room for the voting.

The Guild again urges anyone who is thinking about the buyout to see Carole Hess for a calculation of what their pension would be.

We will provide details as soon as we can.



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