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Globe layoffs: the latest

Thanks to a reasonably successful buyout program and last week's layoffs of 20 editorial part-timers--including five part-time photographers--today's layoffs hit the Globe newsroom with less force than they might have otherwise.

Today's union casualties are as follows: "Names" columnist Paysha Rhone; sports copyeditor Ginger Deshaney,  Globe West reporter Rachani Rathi; and business reporter Nicole Wong. Wong, several people tell me, actually volunteered to be laid off so that a colleague with less seniority could remain employed.

I'm also told that David Yee, a senior assistant copy editor on the night desk, was laid off today as well. [Note: I'd originally written that two other managers were laid off in addition to Yee, but have since been informed that that's incorrect.]

The part-time layoffs have gotten less attention than the buyouts so far, from me as well as other people. I'm still working on a comprehensive list of all the part-timers who were let go. But one of them--photographer Michele McDonald, who was a Pulitzer finalist for feature photography in 1997--told me earlier today that she was deeply frustrated at the way she was asked to leave the paper.

"I'm going to really miss the Globe, but I feel like there's something wrong with a system that treats people in this way," McDonald said. "The union contract says they don't have to give part-timers any severance pay or notice, so that's their excuse. 

"My daughter's bat mitzvah was [two days after the layoff], so they said I could keep my equipment and laptop and phone until today," McDonald continues. "But I think the other photographers were asked to turn in their equipment [immediately]--and they told me to remember to bring my parking pass and Boston Globe identification card in. It makes you feel like you're a thief or something. I went to Iraq with them [to shoot Rakan Hassan's homecoming]; I went to Bosnia during the Bosnian War for them."

McDonald also made an argument similar to the one I heard from David Mehegan last week--namely, that she could no longer do the sort of work at the Globe that she used to. But in contrast to Mehegan--who left voluntarily--this actually seemed to make the sting of her exit worse.

"Years ago, I worked with Eileen McNamara on a story about why the black infant mortality rate is so high in Boston," McDonald said. "Every year we'd run stories about the stats for whites and blacks in Massachusetts, and Eileen said, 'Well, why?' We did this incredible series; I'm very proud of the work that we did. And in some ways, what really saddens me is that I feel like that's work I oculdn't do anymore at the Globe anyway. It's gone. It's another age. It's over."

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