The Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune Guild president says Forum Communications plans to layoff “a few more employees.” Wayne Nelson of BusinessNorth.com writes:
Guild president Peter Passi said owner Forum Communications said it planned to layoff “a few more employees” in the latest round of cutbacks that has eliminated about one-third of the daily’s work force over the last two years. Passi said education reporter Sarah Horner was among the casualties. Ironically, she authored a bylined page one story in the Friday edition in the prime upper right position above the fold.
Guild reporters were expected to participate in a one-day byline strike — permitted in their union contract — in the Saturday, Feb. 13 edition.
Passi said the company refused the union’s offer of 2010 contract concessions in return for an assurance of no additional layoffs. Passi placed the value of those concessions at $77,000 during the year. In addition, the union was prepared to accept a one-day unpaid furlough during the year by all members, he said.
News Tribune Publisher Ken Browall didn’t respond Friday morning to an interview request.
On Feb. 4, members of the Lake Superior Newspaper Guild, the largest employee union at the Duluth News Tribune, voted 98 percent in favor of negotiating wage and benefit reductions with the newspaper’s Fargo, ND-based owner. The company-proposed cuts included a 1.5 percent wage reduction and the elimination of a 2 percent 401(k) match. Guild members were ready to make these sacrifices and go even further as necessary to prevent additional layoffs, Passi said. When the company’s no-promises proposal was put in front of Guild membership, 78 percent of those voting rejected the measure, he said.