The Washington Post has reportedly experienced a round of staff reductions “amid rumors about lower-than-expected revenue and budget shortfalls,” according to The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild’s co-chair, Frederick Kunckle.
Although the layoffs “appear to be small in number,” Kunckle reveals that those staff members affected by the “trim” were blindsided by a performance evaluation. Blaming management, he claims that these evaluations were “cooked up” to force these employees to accept the offered buyouts packages.
Earlier today, Washingtonian published the full post by Kunckle from The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild Facebook page:
In recent weeks the Post has moved to trim staff amid rumors about lower-than-expected revenue and budget shortfalls.
We can’t speak to the budgetary rumors but we can tell you that we’ve heard about the staff reductions. So far, they appear to be small in number. But, as you might expect, they are of enormous importance to the people who are facing dismissal. So we’d like to remind Guild-covered members of your rights.
In every case that we know of, these employees were blindsided. In one instance, management attempted to stretch the terms of the contract to lay off an employee. In another, management yet again failed to live up to the standards of its performance evaluation system.
Similar to efforts that were more widespread before Amazon multibillionaire Jeff Bezos bought the Post, management cooked up a performance evaluation out of nowhere to try force a buyout. And even in the case of a recent hire who did not have job security because the employee had not served out a probationary period as required by our contract, management could not help tossing in gratuitous – and unfounded – accusations of performance problems.
If this should happen to you, please remember that you are not alone. We’re there for you. We would also like to remind you that if you are called in by your manager for discussion that begins to touch on performance and sounds as if it could ultimately lead to disciplinary action or dismissal, you have the right to politely interrupt the meeting and request that a Guild representative be present.
Finally, we would also like to remind everyone – especially since we’re in the Performance Evaluation period – to take periodic steps to document your work and the impact of your work.
PS: Expect a bulletin soon from the company about how the Guild’s painstaking efforts to fashion a response to the company’s pension grab — a needless move by the Post’s owner that would cost employees here thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, each — is taking so long that the union is depriving everyone of the 1 percent pay raise the company has already offered.