An arbitrator has ordered Time Inc. to tell People staff that working on their magazine’s web site is not mandatory, The Newspaper Guild reports.
This comes after editors at Time Inc.-owned Fortune and Time told their staffs that they would be required to work for the dot-com operations, and that part of their compensation would be based on that work.
The argument started in September 2008 when a People staff member e-mailed management asking whether dot-com work was mandatory. Management said yes, then wrote back again:
“They’re not mandatory, per se, but they’re not optional either.”
The guild representing Time Inc. staffers filed a complaint, which we covered in November 2009, citing not just increased responsibilities but increased workload as a reason why having staffers double-dip is a problem.
As of today, the dot-com work at People et al is voluntary.
Our thoughts on the matter are the same as they were in November: Overworking staff isn’t cool, but that’s unrelated to whether somebody works on both the Web site and the print product; you can only do print and still be overworked. So let’s focus on that issue, not the laughable conceit that working on a web site is somehow anathema for print folks.