We lost 14 Guild members over a 2-day period, and almost all of them were duespayers. On Friday we will begin the process of making sure those names are removed from the payroll deduction list. Guild officers also have begun to dissect the layoff list to check it against seniority guidelines as outlined by our contract, and to ensure that severance is paid out without any tricks or traps.
I want to personally express my condolences to those who were terminated. Some, I got to say goodbye to over the phone or in person today. Others, I did not. Those who are “left behind” are at a loss to come to grips with the unnecessary cuts and at the same time are skeptical of our own future. No matter what excellence we produce journalistically, anyone’s number could come up the next time corporate wants to slash payroll.
I also want to again publicly express my dismay that James Keough, VP of HR, on this day of all days, asked me this afternoon when the Guild was ready to resume negotiations. I told him we are in a state of shock; our contract bargaining team took a hit. We lost news researcher Sylvia Halladay, who was a devoted, dutiful, irreplaceable record-keeper whose meticulous notes kept management accountable for over five years. Her attention to detail made her an absolutely top-notch Guild secretary. She was also a vital secretary on the contract negotiation team, and we cannot continue until we find a replacement. Holding an election fror Syl’s replacement will be an even more burdensome task as we lost Renee Petrina, an up-and-coming Guild member who co-coordinated our June 30 contract vote so ably; and Michelle Watson, a steward, was the E-inkling and print Inkling copy editor and yet another wise hand who attended EVERY bargaining session during contract talks and was committed to making the Star a great workplace.
We’ll have more in coming days as we try to make adjustments. Wishing everybody the best —