Monday mourning at New York Times

The window for NYT staffers to accept a voluntary buyout will close on Monday and editor Bill Keller says he doesn't expect the number will be high enough to prevent layoffs. In a memo he reminded staffers that the NYT had set a target of 100 newsroom buyouts. At the end of September, the paper secured  a key agreement with its largest union on the buyout arrangement, which was presented to staffers about a month later.

The union will be told next week which Newspaper Guild staffers will be cut; those employees who are being laid off, both union and non-union, will all be told the following week. In Feb. '08, the NYT  had cut 100 editorial related jobs, which represented 7.5 percent of the newsroom's 1,332 employees.
Gist of Keller's letter:

From: Bill Keller
Date: Fri, Dec 4, 2009
Subject: A note to the staff


As you all know only too well, we are in the process of reducing the newsroom staff by 100 jobs, a process that began with a round of voluntary buyouts. The window for those voluntary buyouts closes at the end of the day Monday, December 7.

We will not know until then exactly how many Guild and excluded employees have opted to take buyouts, but it is almost certain the number will fall short of the 100 we need. If that is indeed the case, as we expect, we will be forced resort to some number of layoffs.

When this excruciating process is finished, we will meet with department heads to regroup and reorganize, to minimize the impact on departments that have been most heavily affected by the cuts.


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