The number of Reuters journalists targeted by a “performance incentive plan” by management has now reached 31, with 22 of those cases now in arbitration, a union official told Talking Biz News on Monday.
The plans, known within the newsroom as PIPs, have been criticized by the union for being used against older journalists to force them out of Reuters. Of the 31 journalists, eight have left the company voluntarily, including longtime economics reporter Glenn Somerville.
Another four have been terminated, while nine are in various stages of the internal disciplinary process. The other 10 Reuters journalists had the plans lifted.
“We are challenging all of this, even the ones whose PIPs were lifted,” said Peter Szekely, the treasurer of the Newspaper Guild of New York. “It is unlike anything I have ever seen with any other employer.”
Reuters management has argued that the PIPs are being used to improve the performance of some journalists. The union argues that the plans violates its contract, which states that the appraisal process can not be used for disciplinary reasons.
Of the cases in arbitration, Szekely said that two have been heard and the evidence has been closed, but rulings won’t be expected until early December.
“We might have hearings into next year,” Szekely said. “But if one side appears to be winning, it might not go on that long.”
However, Szekely noted that the instances of PIPs being used by Reuters management has slowed. Only one new case has been filed in the past month. When Talking Biz News first reported about the PIPs in May, 28 cases had been documented.