Fifty-one employees in The Fresno Bee's circulation department will lose their jobs when the company restructures its delivery functions.
Bee Publisher and President Will Fleet said Monday that The Bee will contract with private companies for delivery services. The transition will occur in phases, and is expected to be finished by Jan. 31.
"This decision is another step in identifying ways to operate more efficiently at The Fresno Bee while maintaining our focus on what we do best -- offering a quality product to our readers and advertisers," Fleet said.
The change is similar to what has occurred at other newspapers, including sister publications The Sacramento Bee and The Modesto Bee. While profitable, The McClatchy Co., parent company of the Bees and 27 other daily newspapers, faces not only declining revenue but heavy debt from its 2006 acquisition of Knight Ridder Inc.
The move is the latest by The Fresno Bee to cope with a struggling economy and revenue losses associated with the demise of major advertisers such as Gottschalks, Mervyn's and others.
The 51 employees work at four distribution centers in Fresno and Clovis. The company's regional operation that oversees home delivery and single-copy sales in outlying areas will continue to be managed by employees. The Bee also retains employees in circulation sales, customer service and marketing in the main office. Fleet said the paper's goal is to create a seamless transition for home-delivery customers.
Employees who are laid off can apply for jobs with the companies that take over the circulation duties. Circulation employees who are not offered comparable jobs at The Bee or other McClatchy companies will be eligible for a severance package.
The layoffs are the fourth at The Bee since June 2008. After this round, The Bee will have 355 employees, about half what it had before the recession.
Hat tip: email