Saturday, February 06, 2010

Cincy | Up to 15 ad production workers said out

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.

What's the story with your advertising-production department? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

[Image: today's Enquirer, Newseum]


  1. No employee is ever placed on COBRA. Continuation of coverage is something that's offered, but not forced, on employees.

  2. Question what if you do not re-apply for the positions offered up? I was just wondering if it would count as quitting etc. therefore deterring you from collecting unemployment

    or would it depend on what state you reside in?

    any info on this matter would be appreciated

  3. 5:05 pm is correct; COBRA's voluntary.

  4. @5:18pm...Here's how it worked at The Journal News (Westchester) last summer. If you chose not to re-apply, you were considered layed-off (Restructured, actually was what they called it) or not re-hired and qualified for unemployment/transition pay as if you were let go. Let me tell all of you in Cincy this- the decisions have already been made as to who stays and who goes- unless some of you choose not to re-apply(then they have a "B-List" for those who were on the bubble). The application process is a sham designed for them to cover their ass legally. If you think you're gone, you are. It's a way for your boss to clean house of whoever they don't like regardless of performance. The have been given carte blanche to do it. Having corporate HR do interviewsis just a smoke screen and it doesn't matter how you do in them- dress up for it if you want but like I said the decisions have already been made. At our place, they interviewed almost 200 people over a 3-day period so how much consideration do you really think they gave everyone? The final proof was after I was lt go, I had an issue with registering for the transition pay so I spoke to TMS (the company that handles it). They said they had no record of my employee id number. When I said- i'm holding a letter from you with my number on it- they replied, we got those ten days ago which was almost a week before the interviews were enen held. Assume you're being let go and make plans now- save any work, contacts, e-mails, etc now. Hather anything you want because when they give you the axe- it will be too late to do it.

  5. oh so here is another question...say you get layed off and DONT TAKE COBRA,(because its soooo expensive) would you then be entitled to go to your local welfare office and apply for medicaid?...i mean we have put in all our money working all these years into the system ...wouldnt it be our time to get some assistance?

    would they take into account that you were offered COBRA and didnt sign up for it?

    would that mess with receiving unemployment?

  6. 5:18, 7:32 is correct, but there's one additional thing. If you reapply and they offer you a job, you have to take it, otherwise they would consider that quitting. They can offer you a job with a paycut, with lousier hours, and if you refuse it, then they'll try to not pay you unemployment.

  7. 7:32 here... COBRA really isn't "soooo expensive". With the 65% federal subsidy which has been extended, my costs remained the same basically, as what I was already paying out of pocket while I was employed. Can't answer the medicaid question but I would sign up for the COBRA if I were you- you can always drop it if you find another option. Don't leave yourself open to great financial damage if you become sick or injured. Cut out trips to Starbucks, etc.. first. And @9:46 is also correct aout being offered a job and not taking it- then you will not qualify for either unemployment or transition pay.


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