The Cincinnati Enquirer is eliminating the jobs of about 15 advertising production workers over the next few weeks as Gannett consolidates work at two new production centers in Des Moines and Indianapolis, tipsters have told me. The employees are part of a surging wave of hundreds of employees who could be jobless by early January 2011, when the centers are to be fully operational.
Enquirer management told 36 workers last week that the move "means the elimination of approximately 15 positions,'' according to a memo from Advertising Director Mike Gleason; a reader forwarded a copy to me. "Over the next few weeks," the memo says, "Human Resources and Advertising Operations Managers will be working to transition as many people as possible into open positions, both locally and throughout Gannett."
Gleason did not respond to a note I sent him, seeking comment.
The changeover begins March 1, one employee told me. "I think the entire HR staff was there,'' the employee said of last week's meeting. "It was brief."
The worker described the following scenario: All 36 workers were given the job duties of newly created positions and told they had until noon yesterday to fill out internal applications. Interviews are to be conducted next week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Those getting one of the new jobs are to be notified by Feb. 15. The new positions comprise advertising order entry clerks, art traffic coordinators, creative artists and Flash artist. All the jobless employees need to stay on the job until Feb. 26 if they wanted to collect what Gannett is now offering for severance, called "transitional pay."
Terms of severance pay
Gannett replaced traditional severance with transitional pay with the July round of layoffs. Workers who qualify for unemployment benefits are paid the difference between those benefits and their Gannett wages. I'm not sure whether there's a maximum payment period, but it could be 26 weeks, depending on length of service. For example, if an employee earned $500 weekly, and qualified for $300 in unemployment benefits, Gannett would pay them $200 a week. Also, laid-off employees are offered COBRA health insurance immediately, rather than medical coverage at lower, company-subsidized rates.
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[Image: today's Enquirer, Newseum]