Four dozen WSJ staffers have had buyout offers accepted
The union that represents business journalists at The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, MarketWatch.com and Barron’s sent out the following announcement on Wednesday:
Following a memo to staff from WSJ editor in chief Gerry Baker, Dow Jones representatives confirmed to IAPE that layoffs will begin today at the Wall Street Journal, beginning with staff on the Greater New York section.
In his memo, Mr. Baker announced, “Greater New York coverage will be reduced in size and will also move into the main section of the paper in the New York region.” Shortly afterward, GNY employees were summoned to meet with department heads.
If all GNY positions are eliminated, this first move by Dow Jones will result in 19 IAPE-represented employees losing their jobs through layoff. Other departments are scheduled to meet with management and HR today.
GNY staff have already been told by one manager, “the Union contract says that we do it this way . . . We close the group and post jobs.”
The Union will fully investigate as soon as management delivers copies of layoff notices to the IAPE office. If there is any possibility that layoffs may be challenged through the grievance and arbitration process, grievances will be filed immediately.
Today’s memo from Mr. Baker follows his announcement on October 21st of plans to offer buyouts to WSJ news staff.
According to Dow Jones reps, 48 IAPE-represented employees’ requests for buyouts were accepted. Whether any employees requested buyouts, but were rejected, or how many non-Union staff will depart as a result of these buyouts is unknown.
Meanwhile, the Union bargaining committee has continued to meet with Company officials in an attempt to negotiate a new contract. Both sides met again yesterday in South Brunswick.
The afternoon session began with off the record remarks as each side attempted to find ways to bridge the gaps between respective contract proposals. After moving back on the record, IAPE reps presented the Union’s 13th proposal package, meeting Dow Jones at 2% wage increases in each year of the agreement and accepting a previous Dow Jones proposal for an early termination option after each year of the contract.
IAPE also proposed a $1,000 lump-sum bonus payable to all Union-represented employees upon ratification of the contract, and a commitment for Dow Jones and IAPE to work together toward “an additional form of incentive compensation” based on verifiable Company benchmarks.
For employees in the United States, the Company has proposed a full extension of 2016 healthcare coverage into 2017 – with no premium increases or cost increases in any component of current plans. For employees in Canada, the latest proposal would see adoption of the new proposed coverage but with no premiums for 2017.
The net result would be a “true” 2% wage increase for all Union-represented employees – however, during earlier healthcare discussions, the Company indicated it only planned on increasing premiums for U.S. staff for employee + spouse and employee + family POS coverage, and employee + family CDHP coverage.
The Union has requested additional healthcare information from Dow Jones to determine the number of employees who would benefit under this proposal.
Dow Jones and IAPE reps are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on Friday morning.