Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Modesto Bee management outlines proposed layoffs, wage reductions, and unpaid furloughs

From comments:
The company (Modesto Bee) came to the table (Monday), as expected, with a proposal for layoffs, wage cuts, furloughs and vacation accrual reductions. Because we are still negotiating a full contract, they asked us to vote only on these provisions. They gave us their terms verbally, nothing was written out so we are still waiting for a final written confirmation of these terms. If we tentatively agree to take this to a vote, we would have a week to ratify the vote with membership before layoffs would occur.


1) 11 laid-off employees within the bargaining unit if we agree to the terms (that number does not including managers, exempt employees as far as we understand it)

2) 21 laid off employees if we do not agree to the terms.

3) Pay cuts by what you earn (these would be instituted building wide for all employees)

- up to $25,000 = 0% cut
- $25,000-$34,999 = 2% cut
- $35,000-$49,999 = 3% cut
- $50,000-$64,999 = 5% cut
- $65,000-$99,999 = 7.5% cut
- $100,000+ = 10% cut
(Part-timers pay cuts would be based on what their hourly rate would equal in they were full-time)

4) A work furlough of a week unpaid (to start the second half of the year), with the option of continuing furloughs each year indefinitely.

5) Cut vacation accrual up to only 1 week above your annual allotment (if you earn 3 weeks, can accumulate 4 weeks, if earn 4 weeks, can accrue 5 weeks - currently we can accrue up to 1.5 times your rate).

They said they would be open to people who volunteered to resign/be laid off. They would be covered by the same severance language in the contract, two weeks of pay per year of service up to 40 weeks. Laid off employees Cobra coverage would be the new federal rate with is up to 9 months at 35 percent.

A couple numbers to mull over. By my count we have 56 guild-covered employees in the newsroom (including on-callers and part-timers). We have 14 managers.



Anonymous said...

These proposed layoffs and pay cuts are atop the massive staff reductions already made in the Modesto newsroom.

The staff currently is about half of what it was two years ago.

The management also has eliminated 401k matches (that equals a 4 percent pay cut), and it eliminated future contributions to our pension plan.

Meanwhile, CEO Gary Pruitt still collects his more than $4 million salary, and his vice presidents continue getting $1 million a year each.

It's time for them to lead by example: They should slash their own pay and cut their own jobs before telling us to !

Anonymous said...

How about they slash their own throats? That would save a lot more money and I bet Wall Street would react with an instant leap in the price of stock since the culprits who ruined the company are sitting on their big piles of dough in Sacramento.....just a thought

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:03 Very understandable. It looks like, very soon, Modesto will be without a newspaper, sans web

Anonymous said...

Which Rolling Stones song should we be singing now?

Anonymous said...

That really is chicken shit. 11 laid off within the bargaining unit if you sign on. This means we'll shift the burden to your peers. Then next quarter they will do it again and you will all be wondering why you're so hated for throwing others to the wolves while you're losing the same number you would have in the first place.

The sad part is, you know that is what they are going to do, but you're going to sacrifice your peers in the name of getting eaten last.

Man I am glad I prepared and moved on.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:40 Reporting from the belly of the beast. Sorry about the impending implosion.

But I’m sure as MNI used to say, but in another context of course, “Elections do have consequences”

Anonymous said...

A week furlough is equal to about a 2 percent wage reduction, but you get the advantage of having time off work.

I would rather have additional furlough time in lieu of the wage reduction. They should at least consider giving people the option of taking additional furlough time (perhaps even at the expense of paid vacation) rather than accepting the wage reduction.

Anonymous said...

It’s kind of like some cheap, “B” grade horror movie, where people in a house get picked off one by one by a monster in gory fashion, till there is either no one left, or the monster gets destroyed.

But in this case, the people get picked off, and the monster burns down his own house.

And unlike the contemporary plot, where the monster comes back for a sequel, the MNI beast will soon breath its last and won’t be coming back for a remake.

Anonymous said...

I understand McClatchy is going to match the 401K...with strike on box matches.
McClatchy...same 'ol same 'ol!

Anonymous said...

The monster might burn down his own building but with $4 mill a year.......he can build a nice new one!

Anonymous said...

56 worker bees and only 14 queens in the newsroom? it's more like 24 to 12 in anchorage.
and yet layoffs and cutbacks target the workers. who will produce the honey?
the economy is part of the mcclatchy problem, but it isn't all of the problem.