The Sun seeks 75 job cuts with buyouts |

The Sun seeks 75 job cuts with buyouts

BALTIMORE – The (Baltimore) Sun will offer buyouts to its staff with the goal of eliminating 75 jobs, or about 5 percent of its work force, the latest in a series of staff reductions at Maryland’s largest newspaper, Sun publisher Denise Palmer announced Friday.Twelve to 15 of the jobs are expected to be in the newsroom, Sun spokeswoman Linda Geeson said. She said layoffs were possible if fewer than 75 employees accept the buyout, but she said there were no specific plans for layoffs.Michael Hill, a Sun reporter and a unit chair of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, said the departures would hurt the newspaper.”It’s just bothersome that any place as profitable as The Sun and the Tribune corporation is resorting to reducing staff and threatening layoffs,” he said. “There’s no need for it.”Chicago-based Tribune Co., whose holdings include The Sun and 10 other daily newspapers, reported third-quarter profits last month of $21.9 million, or 7 cents a share. But without an adverse tax ruling that forced it to take a huge charge and other one-time expenses, the company said operating earnings were 50 cents per share.Hill said the newspaper’s management gave the union a list of employees who would be offered buyouts and relatively few of those employees were reporters or photographers. “A tremendous amount of the support staff is being targeted,” he said.The union is concerned about the buyout proposal, Hill said, in part because the offer does not give employees 40 years or older the federally mandated 45 days to decide whether to waive their right to sue for age discrimination.Hill said the union was able to negotiate a compromise on the timetable issue during the newspaper’s last round of buyouts, in June 2004, and he hoped the same thing would happen this time.Buyouts will not be offered just to veteran employees nearing retirement age, Geeson said.”It’s much more about job functions and where the company is moving,” she said. “It’s not one demographic group.”In a news release and a memo to the newspaper staff, Palmer noted that traditional news companies are struggling to adapt to a more fragmented media landscape and the changing lifestyles of readers, and that The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer have recently announced staff reductions.”We’re all facing similar pressures on revenue and costs due to factors such as media fragmentation, advertiser consolidation and the rising costs of newsprint, fuel and employee benefits,” Palmer said.Vail, Colorado

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