Nobody in the Mission Valley pressroom will be spared.
  • Nobody in the Mission Valley pressroom will be spared.
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As expected, today (May 26) was the Union-Tribune's layoff announcement date. According to whispers among employees at the company, 179 employees got a layoff notice, but that is not confirmed. I could not get a response from the company. Thus far, editorial employees — reporters, editors, desk workers and the like — appear to have escaped the head-chopping.

Employment of 53 members of the Graphics Communication Conference International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 432M (GCIU) was terminated permanently, according to a letter that Russ Newton, president and chief operating officer, wrote to the union.

"These layoffs are due to the acquisition of the company by Tribune Publishing LLC, with the decision to consolidate certain company operations with the Los Angeles Times," said the letter. This was a certainty, because the parent, Tribune Publishing, had already said that the printing will take place in Los Angeles, and the papers will be trucked to San Diego. Also, Doug Manchester, former owner of the U-T, will retain the building in which printing takes place.

"The position elimination layoffs of GCIU members on the separation date will be permanent, and will be one of a number of position elimination layoffs," said the letter. The layoffs fit the definition of a "plant closing" under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, said the letter. The move will also fit the definition of a "mass layoff," said the letter. There is no chance the press-room union employees could be recalled, said the letter.

The press-room layoffs will be official at end of day July 26, 2015, or two months from today. Normally, WARN notices must be filed with the State of California two months before they take place. But the last state WARN notice currently listed is May 21. Presumably, the Union-Tribune layoffs will be listed in a forthcoming update.

Newton wrote a letter today to employees. It said, "Today we are making significant changes to begin the integration of the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times…. Unfortunately, as we have discussed in the last two weeks, some of these changes will be difficult and painful. A number of layoffs are being announced today, as we find the most cost-effective way to do business together. For those of you who will be leaving the company, thank you for years of dedication."

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Don Bauder May 26, 2015 @ 7:21 p.m.

U-T CONFIRMS -- 178 LAYOFFS. The Union-Tribune this afternoon confirmed -- almost -- the whisper number of layoffs. The Reader had heard 179 layoffs. The U-T said it was 178.

That is out of a total of 603 employees, according to a U-T story late this afternoon. There were more than 1000 employees when Copley Press sold the newspaper to Platinum Equity in 2009. Copley had trimmed the ranks before the sale. Owners Platinum Equity and Doug Manchester further sliced employment.

In the newsroom, only nine of 173 employees were laid off, and almost all were with U-T TV, according to the U-T.

Laid-off employees were given two months of notice and will get severance packages based on years of service, according to the U-T. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 26, 2015 @ 7:24 p.m.

Rex D. Stock: I doubt the U-T will be a conservative voice balancing the L.A. Times's liberal voice. If the new management is smart, it will moderate its prior arch-conservative views, but not copy the Times's liberal slant. San Diego County demographics have changed. The U-T has to act on that if it wants to make money, and I believe it does. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 26, 2015 @ 7:25 p.m.

Christopher Carmichael: I'm not sure it will be such a wild ride at that time in the early morning. Best, Don Bauder


Darren May 27, 2015 @ 6:04 p.m.

On the day published reports came out that LA TIMES owner was buying our U-T San Diego, I offered these comments on 7-May:

"Though no employees will want to hear those terms too often used now days: 'Combined operations'; 'Reduced duplication'; 'Cost efficiencies.' "

So then we now know the new San Diego Union-Tribune is letting go one-third its workforce. I offer these words today:

"Corporations stopped caring when they gave control to bean counting masters in Excel, who then turn their spreadsheets over to MBA's who use PowerPoint to present to ownership/board/shareholders."

It is sad, because each person let go, is actually a real human. Darren


Don Bauder May 29, 2015 @ 9:27 a.m.

Darren: It's a matter of greed -- a disease that is destroying our middle class, and will, ultimately, severely hurt our economy. Best, Don Bauder


Twister June 2, 2015 @ 7:15 p.m.

I dare say, Darren is right. Keep on shouting, Darren. "Agitate, agitate, AGITATE!" --Frederick Douglass

And "Never give up, never, never, never give up!" --Winston Churchill

To these and other eternal verities (Semper vigilans, etc.) we owe loyalty, and to honor those who have refused to be owned by others and suffered and died for them.


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