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As Many as 10 ProJo Staffers Put in for Buyouts

As many as 10 Providence Journal staffers, including features editor Phil Kukielski, have put in for the buyouts offered by the company, according to sources.

A writer and a copy editor with the features department have also applied for the buyouts. No news reporters or columnists appear to have applied by today's 5 pm deadline.

John Hill, a reporter who serves as president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, says management won't provide an official count until tomorrow. The paper reserves the right to reject a buyout request from any staffer it deems too indispensible.

The ProJo has not identified how many jobs it needs to shed, but has indicated it needs "substantially more" than the eight it targeted in the last round of buyouts.

If it doesn't meet its number - whatever that might be - the paper could lay off staffers, with the newest employees going first. The union has requested an opportunity to negotiate concessions in lieu of layoffs, but it's unclear if the rank-and-file - or management - will play along.

Hill says there is considerable anxiety on Fountain Street: "You've got people sitting at their desks, people with kids, saying 'what am I going to do?'"

Hill says four union members signed up for the buyouts - the writer and copy editor with the features department and two on the advertsing staff. The rest - as many as six, according to sources - are non-union managers. It's unclear if any of them, other than Kukielski, are in the newsroom.

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