As if Buffalo hasn’t suffered enough over the years with its routine blizzards and four consecutive Super Bowl losses, now comes this media news from Jim Heaney of the InvestigativePost:
The downward spiral at The Buffalo News appears to be gaining speed.
Last week I reported the departure of four veteran reporters and editors and the pending outsourcing of work performed by the newsroom’s five-person design team. That reduces the newsroom staff to some 65 journalists, down from more than 200 back in the day.
The News has since asked the remaining staff to accept a two-week, unpaid furlough. The paper’s managers and other nonunion employees have no choice. The company must negotiate the furloughs with its unions, including the Buffalo Newspaper Guild, which represents what’s left of the newsroom staff.
The union’s executive committee voted Monday to reject the company’s request.
“The Guild wanted to put its foot down on more cost cuts,” Jon Harris, the union president, told me Tuesday.
The Guild will allow its members to volunteer to take the unpaid leave, but I suspect that will be a short line. Very short.
The News is owned by Lee Enterprises, which owns 77 daily newspapers. The furloughs aren’t limited to Buffalo. Axios is reporting that Lee is imposing furloughs at a number of its papers. There’s a similar pushback from unions.
Read more here.