Staff members of the Plain Dealer's newsroom are due to hear about their future with the paper Wednesday morning. A memo sent out on Tuesday stated that employees of the paper's Editorial Department would be receiving phone calls between 8:00 and 10:00 am, informing them whether or not they've been laid off in what the paper calls a "realignment" of it's workforce. This comes days before the P.D.'s plan to scale back home delivery of its print edition and roll out a new online "e-edition." While newsroom staff have been expecting layoffs, the Northeast Ohio newspaper guild picketed the paper yesterday, claiming that management was backing away from promises to union members. ideastream's David C. Barnett reports
About 40 newsroom employees of the Plain Dealer demonstrated in front of the paper's downtown headquarters, bearing signs that claimed that management had lied in negotiations with the local newspaper guild. It was the latest reaction to the P.D.'s plans to adapt itself to a rapidly-changing news business by cutting back home delivery to four days a week, and trimming the newsroom staff by as much as one third.
The demonstrators said the paper had originally agreed that after layoffs union staffing at the Plain Dealer would settle at 110 employees. But now, Newspaper Guild official Rollie Dreussi says management has changed it's tune.
ROLLIE DREUSSI: In bargaining last year, the Plain Dealer told the Guild that if the newsroom people were offered jobs at Cleveland.com, that those offers would come before the layoffs, and then we would be left after that with 110. And now, we've been told that the job offers will come after the layoffs, meaning that probably another 12 of our union members will lose their jobs.
A request for comment from Plain Dealer management was answered with a written statement from publisher Terry Egger. It said simply that: the paper has "always negotiated with [the union] in good faith and honored all agreements."