Thursday, March 5, 2009

D-Day at Fort Worth?... email annnouncement expected shortly... worries the cuts are "catastrophic"

An emailer informs me an announcement will be made at the Star-Telegram today. If you have info to pass on, email me or leave it in comments.

From comments:
All manager meeting at 8:30am. We're hearing nearly 100 layoffs mainly in newsroom/editorial plus other "non-revenue" producing positions such as marketing. Mandatory pay cuts like the ones seen in CA...
From comments, an email announcement is expected soon. More: worries the cuts are catastrophic.

Also, today could be the day at Bradenton, too.


Anonymous said...

Thursday is supposed to be the day at the Bradenton Herald. I guess we'll see though.

Anonymous said...

All manager meeting at 8:30am. We're hearing nearly 100 layoffs mainly in newsroom/editorial plus other "non-revenue" producing positions such as marketing. Mandatory pay cuts like the ones seen in CA.

But let's keep having customers with 2-3 account reps since the dummy directors believe in protected products.

"Hi sir, yes that's our product also since I'm not allowed to sell it let give you the name of that person so you can have yet another appt with us. Yeah I know, that's stupid but we need to keep people employed since their friends with the Director".

"Are you a Church? Well I have to refer you to our Church person BUT if you want to go into one of our weekly products I can refer you to yet another person". But if this is for your pre-school I can sell you". But if you want to go into the Christian School special section I have to refer you to yet another person.

This is not an exaggeration. What a model of efficiency.

We've done it to ourselves and deserve everything that we get.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:05 It was a great business model, circa the first New Deal, in the 1930’s, when the unions were just learning how to grab the leche teat with their piranha like mouths

Anonymous said...


Great post. I worked for and managed small community newspapers for 15 years before a stint with the "big time."

You would think long before crisis mode set in, the powers that be at major newspapers would have looked at their smaller brethren and realized that while they were ecstatic about posting a net operating profit in the 15-18 percent range, small papers were posting 30-35 percent.

The layoffs would come either way, but they might actually WORK if papers thought about less from a standpoint of short-term savings and more from a standpoint of long-term efficiency gains.

Anonymous said...

The layoffs are never going to work as long as they keep cutting from the bottom and leaving the deadwood afloat in the murky water. By the time they figure this out, IF they figure this out, it will be far too late.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some of the Elvis crew will get whacked this time...

Anonymous said...

Remember the WARN act. 60 days' notice/pay required for mass layoffs. If the S-T doesn't follow the law, contact a lawyer for a possible class-action suit.

Anonymous said...

I never ran a newspaper large enough to be covered by the WARN act so I did not pay much attention, but as I understand it the WARN act is useless in the vast majority of cases.

Most large McClatchy papers are probably covered, but in order for the act to be "triggered" one of three things must happen:

1) An entire plant must be closed.
2) More than 499 people must be laid off.
3) Between 50 and 499 people must be laid off AND the number must be equal to or greater than 33 percent of the total full-time workforce at the site.

I suspect this is just another waste of time by government officials who want to SAY they are fighting for workers, but don't actually want to do it.

Anonymous said...

Rumor says ST employees will get the email here shortly at 10 that's here in a few mins so we will see what happens
God bless us all!

Anonymous said...

I am guessing, that because everything has been so hush hush this time there are likely two or three reasons for this, 1. Nobody in the middle management arena knows whos going next cause likely they are one of these choices. 2. The cuts are so catastrophic that they are frightened of a mass walkout. and 3. they are closing the doors.

I would also like to add who is the stupid expletive that decided to raise the cost of the paper at a time when we cant even give the thing away at Walmart. Laws of economics here if you can't sell a paper at fifty cents you for sure aren't going to sell it at a dollar. Where is the brain sense and logic in that. Give the paper away it doesnt generate anything from that fifty cents anyway, all profits are made from advertisements and circulation, heres a simple business figure for you. 50 cent paper xx circulation, 1.00 dollar paper -xx circulation, no circulation no Ads, come on guys get a brain.

Anonymous said...

Mass walkout? Sounds like a great idea. Let's all call in sick on Friday and see how the Wortel-Witt wrecking crew will get the weekend papers out.

Anonymous said...

I second the call for a sickout Friday, March 6. It won't change things, but it will send a message to teh brass at MNI at the S-T that the people they treat like nothings are smarter then they think.

Anonymous said...

Today is the day. It's happening. I know marketing and newsroom managers have been hit. Supposedly 10 from sports. You know it's bad when sports takes a hit.

I'm just sad.

Anonymous said...

Word is 12% overall reduction of staff and a 20% reduction in editorial staff. Enough to make one sick!

McClatchy Watch said...

If anyone has a copy of the S-T email, please email me or post it here, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Anything news about the Kansas City Star and layoffs?

Anonymous said...

To: All Employees

From: Gary Wortel

Subject: Workforce and Wage Reductions

Date: March 5, 2009

As you know, the Star-Telegram along with other McClatchy newspapers have been working for weeks on expense reduction plans to deal with the unprecedented revenue declines due to the economic recession. Unfortunately, because revenue declines have worsened since January, our expense reductions will be more severe than originally anticipated:

1. We will reduce our workforce by about 12% of all employees. Please know that we did everything possible to minimize the impact of layoffs as outlined in the other expense savings plans below. Reductions will occur in virtually all areas of our operation. Although some of these job eliminations will occur through involuntary layoffs, there also will be opportunities for employees to voluntarily select a severance package where reductions are occurring in work groups of {two} or more employees. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced according to least tenure. All affected will be notified today and provided with information about a transition package. If a voluntary option is being offered to your work group you will receive written notification with additional information today. The package being offered is identical in terms to the ones that were offered last year.

2. We will implement a wage reduction for employees whose compensation exceeds $25,000 annually. $25,000 to $49,999 will receive a 2.5% reduction, $50,000 to $99,999 will receive a 5% reduction and over $100,000 will receive a 10% reduction. This applies to everyone, including myself, with the exception of some operational employees, who will receive reduced work hours. We will be providing you with a letter outlining your current pay and what your pay will be when the reduction goes into effect. The letter will be distributed no later than March 20th. These wage reductions will be effective with the pay period beginning April 6, 2009. Your first paycheck to have the wage reduction will be April 24, 2009.

4. Senior management bonuses have been eliminated for 2009 and advertising sales management compensation is being reduced.

5. We are also planning for a one-week unpaid furlough program in the 2nd half of 2009. We are hopeful that business will improve and we can avoid having to implement this, but we think it’s important you know it’s a possibility. If implemented, details will be provided at a later date.

6. Finally, as a reminder, McClatchy announced on Feb. 5 its decision to significantly reduce operating expenses as a result of ongoing and unprecedented economic pressures and revenue declines. The company announced a freeze of the company’s pension plans and the temporary suspension of the 401(k) company match. Both take effect March 31, 2009.

These are difficult decisions, especially when it means saying goodbye to so many friends and colleagues. But we must make these expense reductions to protect the financial health of the newspaper, adjust to economic challenges and remain competitive.

We also must make major strides in growing revenues. Just last week we announced the launch of our new free entertainment publication, Ink Edition. The product will publish weekly starting in April and is expected to produce significant ad revenues. We’re also seeing great success in our behavioral targeting sales efforts utilizing a new ad platform technology. More of these efforts are needed for us to succeed long term.

We know these repeated announcements about the need to reduce expenses and restructure our business are difficult and disruptive, but we ask for your continued focus during these challenging circumstances. Your contributions and dedication are the keys to our future.

Human resources will be setting up informational meetings in the next few days and will also be available to answer any questions about the severance program or wage reductions.


Gary Wortel

Anonymous said...

I feela sick day coming on, screw friday, do saturday, no Sunday paper go figure, no coupons, just imagine those little old ladies.

Anonymous said...


F--- you you arent gonna reduce my salary for me to work more.

I like the sick day even more

Anonymous said...

Little old ladies? When you're laid off, coupons come in handy. And it's a good use of the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking a Friday or Saturday night sick day is in order for all those guys that work their butts off to pay the managers bonuses.

God Bless and let them figure it out.

Anonymous said...

ha ha at coupons coming in handy and we arent even allowed extra of them. damn his cut in pay isn't even gonna hurt his green fees. yours might mean your kid don't eat well. go figure.

Anonymous said...

ok definitely a sicky friday and saturday, I feel a cough coming on.