Union Addresses Members on Time Inc. Job Cuts

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More details emerging from Time Inc.’s latest round of layoffs. The Newspaper Guild has issued a statement to union members about the latest round of cuts — up to 26 union positions. And they aren’t exactly happy:

The ink had not yet dried on separation agreements from the last round of job cuts at Time Inc. when management called Guild officials into a meeting last Friday to say it was sharpening the ax to slice up to another 26 union positions. Time Inc. seems to be addicted to layoffs. This is the third round in just a few months — and the stock price has gone down, not up.

The full statement from the union, including department-by-department details:


TIME INC. REMAINS
ON THE CUTTING EDGE

The ink had not yet dried on separation agreements from the last round of job cuts at Time Inc. when management called Guild officials into a meeting last Friday to say it was sharpening the ax to slice up to another 26 union positions.

Time Inc. seems to be addicted to layoffs. This is the third round in just a few months — and the stock price has gone down, not up. Studies show that employees who remain with a company after layoffs have a drop in performance and productivity as well as lower job commitment and morale. Time Inc. is tampering again and again with its most valuable asset — its employees.

THE NEW JOB ELIMINATIONS:
BUSINESS AND NEWS IMAGING GROUP: The company said it would be “clustering” the imaging and edit operations of its business magazines (Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Money, and Business 2.0) with those of Time and Life magazines. The result will be a downsizing of up to 13 jobs — up to eight in edit operations, one imaging coordinator, and up to four imaging specialists. The projected date for the cuts in these areas would begin on May 5.

TIME COPYROOM: In the Time Magazine copyroom, the company is looking to eliminate up to four people or up to 12 shifts. If individuals would be interested in working fewer shifts a week, those proposals would be entertained. Tuesday shifts will be eliminated, and the number of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday shifts will be reduced.

SI PICTURE COLLECTION: At the Sports Illustrated Picture Collection, the company is looking to cut the staff from five individuals to three.

PEOPLE IMAGING: One part-time job will be eliminated in People Imaging.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: The copying function in Information Technology is being outsourced, costing three Guild jobs (and a manager).

As the Guild contract with Time Inc. stipulates, two weeks will be set aside for individuals in the affected areas to volunteer to leave the company with a package. If enough people don’t raise their hands, the process will be opened for cross-divisional volunteers. People working in the same job titles or doing the same work at other magazines can volunteer for a package, and staffers from the departments being downsized can interview for those jobs.

If management’s goals for job eliminations are still not met, they will be made according to the Guild contract, in inverse order of seniority with the newest employees going first, “except where an employee is involved in a special function or except where the abilities, skills, of performance of the junior employee are superior to the senior employee as determined at the discretion of the publisher.” That “discretion” can be challenged by the Guild in the grievance and arbitration process.

Time Inc. also said it would outsource the imaging work of Parenting Magazine, which until now has been done by the People Group’s Imaging Department, thus eliminating three full-time positions (and a supervisor). Management informed the Guild Friday that in management’s opinion those three positions, which have appeared for years on Time Inc.’s list of employees covered by the Guild contract, aren’t really in Guild jurisdiction at all because the individuals involved, although they’re part of the People Imaging Group, have been working for Parenting Magazine. While People Magazine is listed in the contract specifically as within Guild jurisdiction, Parenting is not. The case parallels a closely related one that is currently pending before Arbitrator John Donoghue. We will give more details in a future shop paper.

If you are affected by these job eliminations, don’t try to face the trauma alone. The Guild is here to help. If you have questions or concerns, contact Unit Chairperson Alex Blanco at [REDACTED], Grievance Chairperson Edith Fried at [REDACTED], or Local Guild Representative Bob Townsend at [REDACTED].

Unfortunately, the Guild cannot prevent downsizing, but we have worked to protect employees by establishing rules that make it fairer and orderly. The generous severance packages that employees receive have been won by the Guild over years of bargaining. But the Guild is only as strong as its membership, and management knows this. To help the Guild continue to defend employees and make it more effective in dealing with Time Inc., don’t stay on the outside looking in. If you aren’t a member, please sign up today.