OUTRAGEOUS! Layoffs shouldn’t pay for new high-priced executive

Employees who produce content for the newspaper should not be laid off to pay for a new, high-priced executive, Guild leaders said in a letter to Publisher George Hearst.

Last week, Hearst cited budget woes in announcing his decision to lay off Editorial Cartoonist John de Rosier and Photographer Phil Kamrass. Both men dedicated 13 years of their lives to the newspaper and have young children.

Less than a week later, the company announced it is hiring a new senior vice president of advertising and marketing, immediately wiping out the savings from the layoffs.

In the wake of that announcement, Guild leaders called on Hearst to rescind the layoffs.

“The readers of the Times Union are ill-served by continued gutting of the people who produce the news and photography that makes people buy our NEWSpaper,” the Guild leaders wrote “Given this new hire, and how it contradicts your statements of just last week about the newspaper’s fiscal condition, we call on you to rescind the layoff notice given to our members last week.They should not lose their jobs to fund yet another top executive.”


  • Woody

    This is yet another slap in the face to the workers who actually do the work to produce the paper – dedicated employees who haven’t had a raise in 5 years! Having spent nearly 12 years in the advertising department, I can tell you that the last thing that is needed there is yet another manager sitting on “manager’s row” whining about how they need more revenue while pushing out sub-par ad products. Disgraceful? Yes. Surprising? Absolutely not.

  • Mike Richard

    Comment to George Hearst: As I come to work every day I see good people doing the bare minimum of work and putting in less effort than ever before including me. Not because we do it on purpose but because the motivation we once had is gone. No raises in our base pay for years while gas prices, healthcare, food costs all keep going up and up. Then cutting the workforce against the agreed contract rules, slashing commission payouts and making us sell products that just don’t work. You make us grab every dime from our customers and jam a product down their throat with the promise that it will perform well when we all know it is borderline fraud, lying and cheating them out of their money. Then we inflate our circulation numbers especially on Sunday with the fuzzy math of the (Saturday early Sunday). Why don’t you tell our in-paper print customer how many papers the ad they bought on Sunday is really in? Why? Here are some real reasons why we all feel cheated out of a job that once was our career.

    1) You spent over a million dollars for an insert machine only to rip it out for new presses while we have no raise in our base pay for years.

    2) You hire more mid level managers when some of the current managers do absolutely nothing to aid in our progress. They show up in a nice suit and just spew a lot of the same ole hot air. No substance, no talet and no benefit to the company. Make a few cuts there. Yet you cut our commissions.You hire a new executive with top pay I’m sure, when you already have a staff to do that job and then make us pay more for healthcare. You cut our editorial staff that creates a great and sellable product but then wonder why nobody wants to buy the paper filled with car ads.

    Here are some suggestions for a better, motivated staff including your managers. Trim the fat at the manager level. Get rid of those just hanging on for retirement and those you can’t even figure out what they do. Take a good look at that because you do have some useless people there. Your rank and file would at least see you making an effort to be fair.

    Use some of that money to pay (yes I’ll say it) your managers a little extra. Some of them work very hard for you. Find a way to offer a small increase in the base pay of your union employees. Offer a token of kindness and they will respond with the same effort and dedication they once gave you. Give us something to feel good about because you have slapped us down so many times it is hard to get up. It would be a good investment to invest a tiny bit back in your workforce because the revenue you lose everyday from lackluster performance far exceeds the savings you think you are getting by holding back a small pay raise. Don’t lose anymore good people that can help save the company because most of your staff hate the job and will bail out at the first opportunity that comes along. I know the job market is tough right now but good people will find good jobs and you will be left with the bottom of the barrel and the slugs hanging on for retirement. You are blessed with wealth beyond our wildest dreams and good for you for being that blessed but you probably don’t realize what it is like to provide for your family when we worry about keeping our homes, paying for an education and eating peanut-butter and jelly sandwich each day so we have enough money for gas for the week. Bring back the motivated, proud staff you once had. Cut if you have to but re-distribute some of the savings to the people that are worthy of an increase. I see so much promise in our workforce and it appears that all you see is an expense. Bring back George Hearst, our leader, our friend, our compassionate advisor. Re-invest in your people and watch how are they will work for you.

  • Woody

    Well said, Mike Richard. Believe me when I tell you that there is a better way out there. Leaving the TU was a very difficult decision, but one that I’ve not regretted for an instant. There are businesses and organizations that will appreciate and respect you for your hard work and dedication, and pay you accordingly. Sadly, the TU has evolved from that corporate culture to one more akin to serfdom, and it really is a damn shame.

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