Union: Providence Journal to disclose plan for layoffs Tuesday

The Providence Journal’s top executives will disclose on Tuesday how many employees they’re looking to lay off to deal with its falling advertising revenue, according to the president of the paper’s largest union.

Providence Newspaper Guild President John Hill told WPRI.com he’s been told management will call him Tuesday and provide the number of layoffs it’s expecting to order to reach a certain level of savings.

“And the question will be, how do we achieve those savings?” Hill said. “Do they achieve it by laying people off or do they achieve it by bargaining concessions?” Hill has said repeatedly he wants to sit down with the paper’s management to discuss alternatives to layoffs before they make a move.

“If it’s a number that’s worth five jobs or if it’s a number that’s worth 35 jobs – that’s a completely different conversation,” he said. “We don’t know what we can or should do until we know what that is.” The Guild is surveying its members to see what they would be willing to give up to forestall layoffs.

Hill described the mood inside the newsroom as anxious. “Everybody’s stretched like a snare drum on this,” he said. But he also expressed hope that this morning’s better-than-expected employment report could be a sign the national recovery is picking up steam, which will eventually boost Rhode Island as well.

The Journal’s work force has shrunk by a third to an estimated 468 employees since 2008.

• Related: Projo union may offer concessions to avoid newspaper layoffs (Sept. 14)

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