Guild Members approve buyout offer

Guild Members approved the buyout offer at today’s Membership meeting. It is intended for graphic artists in the hopes of saving two people from layoff. It is two weeks per year of service up to 15 weeks, with health insurance for the same period of time.

The Guild and Company agreed to a buyout offer that is very limited, with only graphic artists eligible to take it. The Times Union approached the Guild wanting to eliminate jobs held by two of our members. The Company is making changes to the magazine division, moving it down to become part of the editorial department.

We represent two excellent employees in the magazine division, and the Company emphasized the decision was financial. The quality of their work, all parties agreed, is excellent.

Under the imposed conditions, the parties must try to negotiate a buyout offer before any layoffs can occur. It is always the union’s preference that a person leave voluntarily.

Because the most senior of the two employees has been with the Times Union for 5 years, the Company wanted to limit the buyout to two weeks per year of service for a maximum of 15 weeks. An employee taking the buyout would get health care for the same time number of weeks. The company would not challenge an unemployment claim, though unemployment might require someone to wait until the buyout money is exhausted before collecting it.

Anyone taking the buyout would receive all benefits, including vacation and pension accrual, they are entitled to receive.

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