33 layoffs coming to Press Herald

Here's a memo Portland Newspaper Guild president Tom Bell sent to union members at the Press Herald this afternoon. There will be 33 layoffs; and the union is (at long last) getting a peek at the financial records of the company it partly owns. And, uh, sorry about that last line, there, Tom...


The company is eliminating 53 Guild positions. (Twenty Guild members have accepted voluntary severance, and 33 people are being laid off). Layoff meetings are occurring today, and the process should be finished next Thursday, which is the deadline for people to make decisions about their bumping options.
We don’t know yet how many management positions will be cut.
The company is in a very difficult financial position now.  The owners of MaineToday Media have asked the Guild to engage in an expedited bargaining process lasting two weeks, with the goal of reaching an tentative agreement on a new contract that we will bring to members for a vote.  

The Guild Negotiations Committee has agreed to begin those discussions immediately. Guild President Bernie Lunzer is giving us his full support and is dispatching a staffer from Washington, DC to Portland next Monday to help us through this process.
The company is now allowing the Guild to examine its financial records. A financial consultant from CWA headquarters in Washington, DC will be reviewing those records and helping us understand the numbers.
Please do not forward this information outside the Guild.
In solidarity
Tom Bell
Portland Newspaper Guild

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