Havas’ Media Planning Group Under Fire Following April Layoffs

By Matt Van Hoven 

In a story even we are safe to call over the top, (False Advertising? MPG Lays Off Workers While Profits Grow) the Industrial Workers of the World union’s Web site claims Havas’ Media Planning Group laid off employees at a time when the company was, from an outsiders perspective, doing well.

The story quotes a former employee, Joseph Sanchez, who worked in accounting. Sanchez says he’s had to go on unemployment and use food stamps to get by since being let go. Meanwhile MPG has multimillion dollar accounts with Virgin Mobile, which spends $15-20 million annually on ads and the brand new CBS films which drops an estimated $100 million. So the afflicted parties think they should not have been let go and now they deserve back pay, or something.


Though these clients spend a lot annually, media planning most definitely doesn’t take home that entire portion (15-20, 100 et al). Furthermore, news broke today that Sprint purchased Virgin Mobile, possibly signaling the end of VM’s relationship with Havas.

Here’s a few of the saltier lines, taken well out of context:

&#151 “Despite the company’s wealth, MPG only gave workers a four-week severance package, which Sanchez says is simply “not enough time to find a new job.'”

&#151 “When Sanchez and his fellow workers were laid off, MPG also required that they sign an ‘Agreement of Separation & Release’ in order to receive their severance pay. Included in this statement was the stipulation that the former employees would not ‘in any way denigrate any aspect of the company,’ yet the agreement made no mention of the company not denigrating any aspect of the employee.”

Some of the former MPG employees (nearly a dozen!) headed to Kmart in the Village today to protest their parent company’s (Sears) relationship with MPG. In early April of this year, MPG laid off about 50 of some 460 employees, just over 10%.

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