Sunday, March 15, 2009

Was McClatchy being honest about reporting 1,600 employees would be laid off??

Note: This post was updated March 17, 2009.

McClatchy announced earlier this month -- and filed documents with the SEC -- that it would reduce its workforce by 1,600 employees. But tabulating the layoffs announced so far, and looking at the papers yet to announce numbers, you wonder how McClatchy can reach the 1,600 figure.

A reader tipped me off that McClatchy has announced approximately 880 layoffs. And most of the chain's largest papers -- The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, The Kansas City Star -- have already announced their figures, leaving mostly smaller-sized papers yet to give their numbers.

Below is the tally. Next to the paper's name is the number of announced layoffs. If there isn't a number listed by the paper's name, then there hasn't been an announcement.

Anchorage Daily News Alaska
Merced Sun-Star 10 California
The Fresno Bee 63 California
The Modesto Bee 40 California
The Sacramento Bee 128 California
The San Luis Obispo Tribune 7 California
Bradenton Herald 15 Florida
El Nuevo Herald Florida
The Miami Herald 205 Florida
Ledger-Enquirer 20 Georgia
The Telegraph 18 Georgia
Idaho Statesman 25 Idaho
Belleville News-Democrat 30 Illinois (includes 12 p.t. and 3 vacant)
The Wichita Eagle 14 Kansas
Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky
Sun Herald 9 Mississippi
The Kansas City Star 150 Missouri
The Charlotte Observer North Carolina
The News & Observer 78 North Carolina
Centre Daily Times Pennsylvania
The Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet South Carolina = 17 total
The Herald 6 South Carolina
The State 38 South Carolina
The Sun News 20 South Carolina
Fort Worth Star-Telegram 120
The Bellingham Herald 10 Washington
The News Tribune 30 Washington
The Olympian 15 Washington
Tri-City Herald 3 Washington
McClatchy Interactive 9 North Carolina
DC Bureau

Total: 1,080

Look at the papers who haven't announced their layoff numbers, and tell me how MNI can come up with an additional 722 layoffs. Are the layoffs at Charlotte or Lexington or Raleigh going to be as immense as the KC Star layoffs --150? Is MNI planning to totally shut down a newspaper? I'm not seeing it... if you can envision the scenario, leave it in comments. (Previous layoff tally here.)
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34 comments:

Roanoke said...

A point to consider: positions held open, yet unfilled.
Do these that factor into their 1600?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the number was inflated to boost investor confidence. Cutting costs makes a company more attractive on the Dow.

McClatchy Watch said...

The number I listed for the Miami Herald (205) include 175 layoffs plus 30 unfilled positions eliminated. Some of the other figures I listed might not include unfilled positions that have been eliminated.

Anonymous said...

So that leaves 14 papers responsible for another 772 layoffs? That's an average of roughly 55 positions per paper. So, the ones left behind will probably have a beat they have to cover and possibly try to sell some advertising while doing so, then they'll probably end up working a split shift so they can work in distribution as well...and then maybe balance the books on a "working" lunch break? I understand the importance of the cuts, I do...but man, Mr. Pruitt. You are leaving each and every single one of your papers on life support. Can blood flow through the veins without the heart? I don't think so. Will your company ever survive without all of these great workers? I doubt it.

I hope they provide counseling for those left behind. It's definitely not going to be a trip to Candyland for them!

Anonymous said...

Are they banking on the papers for sale being bought?

Do they have a "we can add open spots gained by attrition in on the total side" and not announce orally that person as "laid off" but count them that way for report purposes.

OR FAR MORE LIKELY

as outsourcing programs now in the works get implemented and started, how big will the June round of layoffs be??????????

(Yes, that IS coming! Twill be another sad, sad, sad round of days.)

Anonymous said...

Can you factor in the number of jobs saved from any deals taken with wage cuts? Though, I haven't followed how many similar offers were given beyond the three Bees, or if any jobs saved only increased the lay offs for non-guild covered employees.

Anonymous said...

What is the date range or deadline date for the layoffs according to the document?

Roanoke said...

Thank you, McClatchy Watch--that's all I was saying. It probably doesn't account for it all, but might possibly account for some.

It's the ultimate X factor, unless one of us is HR or "in the know" otherwise.

Again, it's only my opinion.

Anonymous said...

9:58 AM -- can you expand on the outsourcing and June layoffs you mentioned? That would be much appreciated...as I sit here, scratching my head, saying "WTF?"

Anonymous said...

It's possible this was reported wrong in the press, and it spread from there to other media outlets. As an assigning editor, it wouldn't surprise me that an SEC filing isn't read properly or that a news release with complicated numbers is misread by reporters.

That number could be 1,600 FTE. So that could include the layoffs, attrition, elimination of unfilled position, chilling positions and even pay cuts - anything that reduces payroll or that is measured in FTE.

I've had many a reporter file stories where they translated FTE one-for-one with "jobs" or "positions," (even after I've coached them on what FTEs are) which is very misleading.

Anonymous said...

The answer is in the SEC Filing gibberish. They leave the completion date wide open, only committing to a begin date no later than the end of the 1st quarter. This gives them until reporting of the third quarter before they really have to address it again.

Look for not only open positions to be eliminated, but also look for management positions to be eliminated off the radar and after the rank and file are released. Also, look for an uptick in the number of for cause terminations.

SEC CRAPOLA
======================
On Feb. 5, 2009, at the time of its fourth quarter earnings release, McClatchy announced that given the unprecedented deterioration in revenues and with no visibility of an improving economy, the company was developing a plan to reduce costs.

Today, the company said it plans to reduce its workforce by approximately 15% or 1,600 full-time equivalent employees ....... The headcount reductions will be achieved through severance programs, [Layoffs] attrition and further consolidations and outsourcing of some business. functions.

Roanoke said...

Oh, horrors!
Surely, I couldn't have possibly helped to propel an introspective "non-guilded," repartee.

Anonymous said...

McClatchyWatch, you are a bloody idiot.

Anonymous said...

some sites you listed with no # will be anouncing large numbers monday.

not sure if you will hit the full 1600 but it will be painfully close when its all said and done.

Anonymous said...

11:04 AM Thanks man. There is just no way to tell if you have hit a nerve around here without the enlighten intelligence that people like you bring to the table.

It's also fun to guess who you are. Now who do I know that loves to fancy themselves as a wanna be Canadian, works for McClatchy but never made it past the public bath in San Francisco?

Anonymous said...

Well, some of those numbers don't include outsourcing of printing. Myrtle Beach's total was more like 58 and The Rock Hill Herald's total was also more than 6. I can imagine there are other papers doing this, too.

Roanoke said...

1:03's got a good point, I think.

Anonymous said...

14 papers+closing the doors=722 layoffs

Anonymous said...

I think whether we hit 1600 or not doesn't matter. You would have to assume that the company would not come back for another round at this point and instead head to bankruptcy.

This is the 4th round at several papers in less than a year, and I don't see how they can cut too many more people and still continue to function.

Anonymous said...

2:21 PM, I was thinking the same thing. Someone metioned another round coming in June, but I don't see how that could be physically possible. With papers across the board running on empty, I don't see how they could come back. To say that these staffs are a skeleton crew would be an overstatement. They're more like the dust of bones, if you ask me. Is it chapter 11 or 13 that a company can file and still function? You'll have to forgive my ignorance of things concerning banruptcy. But, depending on how tomorrow goes, I may have to educate myself for personal reasons!

Anonymous said...

Anon 252: the possibily of additional layoffs in June/July will depend on who by salary gets caught up in the round.

We have read that some papers have shear upper manager (Vice Presidents & Directors) but not enough to account for the dismissial of the rank and file of core employees.

What will likely happen will be a combination of more reduced hours, takeing one to two weeks off without pay, and the elimation of small weekly communitty sections. Then looking higher end saleries as a means to cut further.

We are entering uncharted waters after this round of cuts. No matter the comments made by Publishers about the newspaper business is more in demand than ever.

At current rate of providing less content at a higher cost to subscribers who are also looking at ways to save. We will end up alienating the very key to our survival.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not there is going to be additional rounds. They have lots of room to cut. They can cut all the way till there is nothing left but their propagandists and set up shop in a strip mall with web only where they can cut/paste/manipulate AP stories all day long.

Anonymous said...

Is there a decent coffee shop in that strip mall? I could up for that.

kate said...
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kate said...
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Anonymous said...

To add insult to injury at the Modesto paper...the #2 man didn't even have the "cahones" to deliver the news in person and some folks were called at home to learn of their fate. Good one Mark!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:36 -- I think that is the very definition of the word "Coward." To not even have the decency to tell people to their faces that they've been canned as if something as impersonal as a phonecall will someone keep the guilt from sticking to their suits. That is absolutely insulting and my thoughts go out to the folks in Modesto who had to learn of their fate this way.

Anonymous said...

I think that is the very definition of the word "Coward."

--

Come on man. How many of those people do you know that got their position because of their bravery, willingness to confront adversity, or basic integrity? They didn't get there that way at all. They got there by climbing over the backs of their peers at the expense of their friends. You should expect nothing less.

Anonymous said...

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Dear Blogmaster;

I sincerely hope that for posterity sake you are keeping a collection of these "enlightened leftist" witticisms to be published in remembrance of intelligentsia before the cleansing.

Consider it your mandate and pseudo constitutional responsibility and never fail to let people know how critical your role has been, and how much they owe you.

Anonymous said...

It may very well be that we're seeing the equivalent of 1,600 jobs eliminated through a combination of layoffs and furloughs/wage reductions. Many of these papers gave the unions a choice: x number of jobs cut or x-y number of jobs cut + across the board wage reductions...

Anonymous said...

Hint "on the more in June and after future"....look at what has been outsourced in the ad design dept, circulation customer service dept, advertising customer service dept, printing dept, and now the ad for several "free lance stringers" in editorial.......not to mention the statement "where else can outsourcing apply".........LOOK AT THE WHOLE PICTURE.

If it hasn't happened at your paper yet.....research past actions and those "in the works" at the other papers.

Anonymous said...

At The Telegraph (Macon, Ga), the number is higher. They announced in February that 58 pressroom jobs would be cut come April (when printing moves to Columbus, Ga) and last week announced the other 18. In all, there will be 76 jobs going away next month.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the other press jobs aren't listed at the Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) either. A lot of papers are combining these operations and I don't think your list includes those number -- but McClatchy probably did in what it announced.

Anonymous said...

You also have to consider the change in working hours. Every 16 employees going from 40 to 37.5 hours/week equals one full time 40 hour person eliminated. That may be how they're getting the number up.