Half and Half Not: ‘Merc-News’ Cuts Reach 35

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By: E&P Staff

In the end, the San Jose Mercury News layoffs ended Tuesday by cutting 35 staffers — half of the original plan — under new owner, MediaNews Group.

On Monday, the company had reached a tentative agreement on a labor contract with its largest union, the San Jose Newspaper Guild, which sliced the number of job cuts by 34. .

Mercury News spokesman Dan Breeden, according to an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, said 10 workers — reporters, photographers, designers and copy editors — were cut from the newsroom and 25 from business offices.

“It’s been a difficult day for all the involved people,” Breeden said in the story. “They’re professionals, they’re positive and they’re looking forward to serving the community with a quality paper.”

Becky Bartindale, local Guild president and a Mercury News education reporter, added, “It’s pretty grim. These are your colleagues and friends and they’re out the door.”

The Chronicle summed it up: “Under the two-year labor agreement, which still must be ratified by the Guild’s 460 remaining members, employees will receive a 2 percent annual raise but must pay a larger share of medical plan premiums. The new contract also calls for more collaboration between the Mercury News and MediaNews’ other Bay Area papers, including the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and a handful of other publications.”

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