Martin Scheinman, an arbitrator hearing the dispute between the New York Times‘ management and the guild, ruled yesterday, as promised.
In a press release, and a memo to members, the guild explained that Scheinman had upheld its seniority definition for staffers — meaning seniority will be measured based on how long someone has been in the newsroom overall, and not how long they have been at a particular desk.
But there was one sentence that went out in a memo to guild members, obtained by FishbowlNY, but was not in the press release issued by the guild:
“The Guild is expected to be notified Tuesday of the layoffs, which
would be implemented later this week.”
Sounds like layoffs at the Times are just a few days away.
After the jump, more information from the arbitrator’s ruling
Scheinman’s ruling on seniority is important because staffers are offered different severance packages depending on whether they are laid off in order of seniority or out of order. “In last year’s round of job cuts, management had taken the position that seniority gets reset to zero each time an employee moves to a new desk,” the guild said.
Explained the guild:
“Under the ruling, employees laid off in inverse order of seniority will receive three weeks per year of severance pay, instead of two weeks, the same rate as employees who are involuntarily laid off out of order, and will have to sign a release, as they currently do. Employees with the least amount of seniority are generally most vulnerable to layoffs, but management can pass over more senior employees if it determines that a less senior employee’s qualifications are ‘superior.'”
Scheinman also gave the guild the ability to challenge the Times if they hire new employees post-layoffs who are not part of the pool of laid off staffers.
What’s more, the guild added that it is challenging the Times‘ decision to move its News Service department from New York to Florida, which will result in the loss of 28 guild jobs. The guild said it is offering the paper a plan that will save nearly $900,000 a year, even staying in NYC.
Read more: The guild’s press release