Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wanted: Seattle Times departure list

Since the Seattle Times announced on Monday that it would be cutting 200 jobs, including laying off 30 people in the newsroom, no official list of names has surfaced, even though I believe those being let go have been informed.

I don't have such a list myself, official or unofficial, but we know that the suburban bureaus are closing, with most of those employees being axed en masse, and that a couple of people in distinct job categories at the main office are losing their jobs as well.

The reason for this pattern, from what I can determine, is that reporters are represented by the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, and union rules require that staffers be laid off according to seniority. Except that those seniority rankings apply within specific job categories, and not all employees, or even all reporters, are created equal. The suburban bureau reporters, for example, are in a different class than other reporters in the main newsroom, so it's possible -- even easier, in some ways -- for the management to strike that entire group than to retroactively "unhire" people newsroom-wide on a last-in, first-out basis.

The result is that some very senior reporters, like Diane Brooks, a 22-year veteran (all 22 years, unfortunately for her, in the bureaus) are getting the sack, while some newer (and also excellent) hires like investigator Ken Armstrong are safe.

I'm expressing no opinion on these layoffs, except my deep sympathy for those affected and my wish for them that better days are ahead.

I'd like to post the names here of those who are losing their jobs, not to embarrass anybody or to dog the Times, but as a tribute to their work over the years and a farewell, for now, to their bylines.

Readers, Times friends, Guild reps: If you can confirm names for this list or correct any mistakes, please let me know.

Thank you.

No comments: