AP Layoffs Reach 57 Guild Employees

By: Joe Strupp

The number of Associated Press staffers laid off Tuesday has risen to 57, according to the News Media Guild, which represents editorial employees.

A notice on the guild Web site this morning stated that the cuts announced Tuesday included 33 newspersons, 19 editorial assistants, and five photographers.

Earlier reports had the total at 38, but News Media Guild President Tony Winton told E&P that AP officials informed him of more last night.

“This is a very sad day for our AP colleagues and the public who relies on their important news work,” Winton said in a statement. “We will be following up on all terminations to make sure that all benefits are paid and that seniority rules were applied properly.”

Winton said AP had notified the guild late Tuesday of the updated number, but he did not know how many non-guild or managerial posts had been cut. The guild represents about 1,300 of the AP’s 4,000 employees.

The Guild site stated that 20 of the layoffs had occurred in the New York office. Others include staffers from Washington, D.C.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Baton Rouge, La.

“Under the Guild’s contract, seniority generally prevails in staff reductions. Laid off employees are entitled to proper notice, severance pay, and have a re-hire right if jobs later become available in their business location,” the guild notice stated. “Anticipating the cuts, the Guild and AP reached agreement on detailed job security terms in the most recent contract. The contract also provides AP the option of offering transfers and buyouts in cases of staff reductions.”

The layoffs follow last year’s AP announcement that it planned to cut payroll by 10% by the end of 2009. The news cooperative has already reduced staff by 100 through buyouts this year, which ended in July.

In his statement, Winton said AP’s decision not to use buyouts again was “very disappointing.”

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