Providence Buyouts Offered, No Targets Set

The company has informed the Guild it is offering a new round of buyouts, and warned layoffs are possible if enough employees don’t accept them.

Unlike the December 2011 program, when specific position-by-position goals were announced, this time the company has not set a specific quota, beyond saying it needs “significantly more” than the eight-person target of the 2011 offer.
The offer is open to all parts of the company, not just Guild covered employees, except for the pressroom. Eligibility will be determined by seniority in the bargaining unit for Guild-covered employees.
The terms of this new offer are similar to the buyout at the end of last year. Anyone accepting the offer will be paid 1.25 weeks of base pay for each year of continuous service, with the payout capped at ten weeks worth of pay. The last day of work will be Sept. 30.
Because those taking the offer won’t be on the payroll on Dec. 31, 2012, they will be ineligible for the 2012 pension transition supplement payment for that year. To cover that loss, the company will give anyone taking the buyout a cash payment that will pay the employee what he or she would have been eligible to receive through Sept. 30, 2012.
That payment is due to be paid by October 2013 and this one will be paid no later than that month as well. There is no offer of extended health insurance coverage.
Anyone wishing to take a buyout must make the request to the Journal Human Resources Department by the end of business on Monday, Sept. 17. The company is reserving the right to refuse participation to employees considered crucial to operations.
The big question is, obviously, what happens if they don’t get enough acceptances. The answer is, until Sept. 17, we don’t know. This is a step-by-step process and we are in the first one.
If you have any question about the offers, ask a Guild Board or unit council member and we will try to get you an answer. You can also call Human Resources.
This situation is going make for a difficult few weeks. It will involve hard, life-changing decisions for those who are considering leaving and anxiety about the future for those who fear a layoff.
No one wants this. Pressuring friends to make certain decisions or openly speculating about whose job you might try to move into are only going to make it worse. We can’t control the economy, but we can control how we treat each other during this time. A little compassion can go a long way.