Thomson Reuters on Wednesday said it will eliminate seven union-represented editorial staff positions by Dec. 31, move the Americas editing desk from Washington to New York and offer enhanced voluntary buyout packages to all employees who have been with the company for at least 18 years, according to the guild that represents journalists.
The guild states, “Those eligible for the buyouts – 97 members hired before Jan. 1, 1996 and classified as Group O or 10J as of Feb. 28, 2009 – have what is called employment security under our contract (Article XVI, Section 1(b)) and are thus protected from economic reductions.
“The initial offer from management, which the Guild intends to counter, is tiered based upon years of service. It includes two weeks of severance per year, paid in biweekly increments for up to one year, along with medical coverage for the term, plus the following enhancements based on date of hire:
- Hired between 1990 to 1995 = 9 weeks of additional pay
- Hired between 1980 to 1989 = 12 weeks of additional pay
- Hired before 1980 = 15 weeks of additional pay
“Under management’s offer, members hired after Jan. 1, 1996 are not eligible for the enhanced severance package, but would be considered on a case-by-case basis for severance under the standard contractual terms of two weeks per year, plus medical.
“Guild officers and members met this morning with company representatives to discuss the terms of the voluntary buyout packages. As yet, the Guild has not agreed to the management proposal and plans to submit a counterproposal as early as this week.
“Although Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steven Adler last week announced a 5 percent global cut in staffing, the company representatives did not clearly explain whether employees who accept the voluntary packages would count toward that goal, or whether their vacancies would be filled. They stressed that they did not foresee any further cuts in the number of Guild-covered jobs, even if no one were to volunteer for a buyout.
“At the meeting, management also notified the Guild of its plan to eliminate seven editorial staff positions –- two New York Level 2 Journalist jobs whose work is being moved to Bangalore, and a photographer and four reporters in Miami, which is slated to become a one-person bureau.”
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