Times-Union Lays Off 18, Guild Is P-I-S-S-E-D

The Albany Times-Union has laid off 15 full-time and 3 part-time workers, effective immediately, despite the guild’s assertion that the company must enter a 45-day negotiation period before any layoffs can take place.

Nine of the 18 laid-off employees were covered by the guild, and the guild expects another four employees to be laid off later this week.

How’d the company respond to the guild’s statement? Click the jump to find out.

The company’s response is that the staffers aren’t actually fired, being placed on a 45-day paid leave. At the end of the 45-day period, the workers will “likely” be laid off unless substantial changes in the layoff criteria (the ones that contained serious spelling errors and weren’t agreed upon by the guild) are negotiated.

Editor Rex Smith paid tribute to the laid-off—er, put-on-leave— staffers, according to the Times-Union guild blog, talking about “the people who were laid off today” and “the people we lost today.” “Witnesses said,” the Guild reports, “they are willing to testify that Smith left no doubt these workers were laid off.”

Perhaps more tellingly, publisher George Hearst III mentioned nothing about “paid leave” in the Times-Union article about the cuts. “Reductions in staff are never pleasant,” he told the Times-Union yesterday. “Many of the employees have served with distinction, and our very best wishes are with them as they continue with their professional and personal lives.”

We’re sorry, guys. If the guild can’t help you (and it seems like they’re trying as hard as they can) we don’t know what to suggest…