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Crunching the numbers on the Globe buyouts

The numbers on the buyouts at the Globe and the New England Media Group are in. Here's the memo from publisher Richard Gilman:

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November 30, 2005

To the staff:

I would like to share with you the current status of the workforce reduction we announced on September 20th.

As you know, because of the challenging business environment, we planned to reduce the staff at New England Media Group by 160 positions. Our goal was to achieve as many of these reductions as possible through voluntary buyouts from both Guild and Exempt employees. The largest of these programs are now closed at The Boston Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and Globe Specialty Products. We have approved buyout acceptances from 115 employees.

I understand how difficult these individual decisions were to make. We all appreciate the contributions these employees have made over their careers at the Globe, Telegram, and GSP. And, I know that we will all miss our colleagues who are leaving.

We still need to take an additional step to achieve our targeted workforce reduction goals. We have notified the Newspaper Guild that, beginning in February 2006, we will contract with a vendor to provide our custodial services. This will result in considerable cost savings to our current operation. Employees who provide these services today will be offered buyout packages that include compensation, health plan extensions, and group outplacement services. Employees in this area with job guarantees will be transferred to other functions at the Globe.

These difficult decisions have been triggered by our need to respond to a rapidly changing media landscape, and put us in a stronger financial position to pursue our goals in 2006 and the years ahead.

I'm tremendously proud of this company and our contribution to the life and strength of this region. We have an extremely talented and dedicated staff to maintain our high standards of quality journalism and business performance. I'm confident that we have a bright future ahead of us.

Thank you for your hard work and heartfelt contributions.

Richard


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Of those 115 New England Media Group buyouts, 31 have come from the Globe newsroom. The reduction target was 36 jobs, but because there are five unfilled positions, a company spokesman says there will be no layoffs in the Globe newsroom.

The roster of those leaving the newsroom include Travel editor Wendy Fox, pop culture writer Renee Graham, feature writer Jack Thomas, op-ed page editor Nick King, editorial writer Susan Trausch, classical music critic Richard Dyer, New York bureau chief Tatsha Robertson, obit writer Tom Long, theater critic Ed Siegel, business writer Charlie Stein, music writer Steve Morse, sports media writer Bill Griffith, arts writer Maureen Dezell, and op-ed columnist Tom Oliphant.

There is no way of getting around the fact that this is a serious loss for the Globe, one that entails the departure of some talented journalists and familiar bylines -- and one that will be felt by readers. Now, of course, comes the reshuffling of jobs and the rejiggering of content. More on that as events warrant.
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