By: Mark Fitzgerald
Two people, a newsroom employee and a circulation staffer, were laid off from the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, a Newspaper Guild official said Monday.
“In and of itself this is not a large cut, it’s more the cumulative effect that’s really got people worked up here,” said Peter Passi, president of the Lake Superior Newspaper Guild and a general assignment reporter at the Forum Communications-owned daily.
Last May, eight people were laid off, including three from the newsroom. Earlier this year, the executive editor and circulation director were laid off, according toPaper Cuts.
“In this latest go-around, the company showed it really isn’t interested in talking to the union about any kind of negotiated set of concessions that would yield any kind of job protection,” he added. “They just want unilateral cuts in pay and benefits.”
News Tribune Publisher Ken Browall confirmed the layoffs.
Passi said the Guild unit had been prepared to offer cuts to pay and benefits if they were paired with a no-layoff guarantee for six months. Even with that, he said, the union offered language that would have permitted job cuts if there was an unexpectedly severe dip in revenue.
The union is in the third and final year of the current contract. It was the first time the Duluth Guild had offered to reopen a collective agreement before its expiration, Passi said.
Correction: This story has been corrected from an earlier version, which misspelled Publisher Ken Browall’s name and incorrectly reported he had not immediately returned a message “seeking comment.” In fact, he was only asked to confirm the layoffs. An e-mail sent promptly to E&P was caught in a spam filter and delivered hours later. The earlier version also referred incorrectly to Paper Cuts, which is an independent blog by Erica Smith.