Seattle ‘P-I’ Employees Notified of Possible Layoffs

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Employees at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have been notified by the newspaper’s owner, the Hearst Corp., that it expects all P-I jobs to be eliminated if no one purchases the paper.

The P-I reported on its Web site Tuesday night that the paper’s employees were notified in a letter to the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild sent Friday by Roger Oglesby, P-I editor and publisher.

The letter said jobs will end March 18 at the earliest, though they could last through April 1. The paper has a current staff of 170.

The letter was required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Managers received a similar letter Saturday.

On Jan. 9, Hearst said it would stop printing the P-I if no buyer was found within 60 days. Hearst also repeated in its letter to employees that it might continue with a seattlepi.com Web site, produced by far fewer employees. The letter said some P-I workers might be offered positions with a Web site.

The P-I has a weekday circulation of 117,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Founded as the Seattle Gazette in 1863, Hearst has owned the P-I since 1921, and the paper has had operating losses since 2000, including $14 million last year.

Hearst has hired newspaper industry investment bankers Broadwater & Associates of New York to seek a buyer for the paper.

The Seattle Times, the city’s other daily paper, has handled non-news functions for the P-I since 1983 under a federally approved joint operating agreement.

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