Picking up the pieces — again

Obviously, what happened Monday — with the Star announcing yet another round of job reductions — has left us all with a wide range of emotions spanning from shock to fear to anger. After so much experience with these kinds of bleak days — six rounds of reductions in six years — you might think it wouldn’t be so, but it is.
 
Of course this round of cuts was dressed up in the form of a reorganization into what the Star, and Gannett newsrooms in many cities, are calling the “newsroom of the future.” (Gannett used similar phrasing in 2006). The most glaring thing about the newsroom of the future is that it involves 15% fewer journalists than the newsroom of the present. For those whose jobs are likely lost this time, we can only remind you that you’ve done your jobs well, it’s just unfortunate that Gannett’s goals for newsrooms are ever-changing. That your job is no longer their priority reflects more about the corporation than anything it says about you.
 
The strange aspect of this is that there’s not a clean break. Some of us will scour the job menu for a position we might fit into. And some of us will be left standing when this game of musical chairs stops. Several no doubt are considering the voluntary layoffs. Others who may have jobs after Sept. 5 may decide you’ve had enough of the annual summer roulette. 
 
Most immediately, your Guild bargaining team members are regrouping today and to try and finish negotiating a new contract. The company has a proposal on the table that moves off some of their harsher stances on severance, but leaves others. We give the credit for their move to all of you who made your voices heard on this. But the biggest remaining hurdle is pay. Several of us will still be here after Sept. 5. More than two-thirds of the newsroom saw no pay raise this past year, despite getting good job reviews, despite all the efforts you made to learn new skills and new software, and despite the fact inflation has kept eating away at your earnings. Given all you’ve had to learn and do and the efforts you made, we find this appalling. 
 
The Guild is contemplating some form of group action, possibly as early as Wednesday. Please stay tuned. If you have thoughts on anything about the reorganization, about the job cuts, about negotiations, about group actions, please share them.
 
We’re here to serve you. 
 
Your Guild leadership
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