'S.F. Chronicle' Buyout Offer Includes Up to One Year of Salary, Benefits

By: Joe Strupp San Francisco Chronicle employees who are eligible for an upcoming buyout offer, aimed at reducing the 400-person newsroom by as many as 100 staffers, will receive two weeks' pay for every year of service, up to 52 weeks, free medical coverage for the same time span, and eligibility for unemployment insurance, according to an internal memo.

The memo, first posted on the Poynter.org Romenesko Web site, said the paper will approach those staffers it seeks to offer a buyout and allow Newspaper Guild representation during each meeting.

"The buyout program is intended to reduce and perhaps eliminate the need for involuntary layoffs," the memo from Chronicle officials said, in part. "If the voluntary phase of the job reductions fails to reach the target, involuntary layoffs would be done subject to the terms of the Guild's collective bargaining agreement."

The memo added that the procedures were agreed to during a two-hour meeting Wednesday at the Guild headquarters, where "union negotiators obtained assurances that no one will be coerced or forced into accepting a buyout. At the same time, management made it clear that work assignments and performance expectations may change in the reordered newsroom consistent with business goals."

A list of buyout eligible employees is expected to be provide to the Guild later this week, the memo said.


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