Owner: Sun-Times Media Group
Announced: Jan. 9, 2009
Management told the newsroom union that it will outsource copy editing. The paper is scrapping its plan to outsource copy editing and page design.
Sources: Chicago Tribune and Paper Cuts tip; Chicago Tribune; Paper Cuts tip
* Updated March 13, 2009, after the Sun-Times said it would not outsource jobs.
Phil Rosenthal | Media
March 13, 2009
If you see the colour, er, color returning to the faces of newsroom staffers at the Chicago Sun-Times, it’s because one of their worst nightmares won’t be realised, um, realized.
The need to dramatically cut costs to stem losses remains. A plan to outsource copy editing and page designing to Canada or India does not.
Union officials representing Sun-Times editorial employees said management informed them Thursday that the paper is scrapping the radical January proposal to eliminate up to 30 jobs.
The Newspaper Guild was braced for a fight. But, in the interim, a shareholder-led overhaul upended parent Sun-Times Media Group’s board and a succession of other changes, including John Barron replacing Cyrus Freidheim as Sun-Times publisher and Don Hayner succeeding Michael Cooke as editor.
“We understand the financial difficulties, but this was a big problem for us, said Thomas Thibeault, executive director of the Chicago Newspaper Guild. “You weren’t looking at alternatives to try to save money, you were just putting people out on the street and giving their jobs to people outside our country, and that’s pretty bad.
“Their leadership took a fresh look. They get a 10 on my scorecard today. I think that shows good faith. That doesn’t mean the problems are over. That doesn’t mean the Sun-Times is rich today. That doesn’t mean that the guild won’t have to fight another battle tomorrow. But what it does mean is the Sun-Times took a fresh look at it, and the only denominator that’s really changed is the leadership.”
A spokeswoman for Sun-Times Media did not respond to a request for comment.
The company on Thursday announced a settlement to resolve a $41.8 million claim by CanWest Global Communications at a discount. It will pay CanWest $21.8 million, while an unnamed third party connected to the 2000 transaction at the dispute’s center pays CanWest $4.6 million, for a total of $26.4 million.
But the real victory is readers safe from being scandalised by news of the “hired lorry” programme.
Originally posted: January 9, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times management has presented its newsroom union with a cost-cutting proposal to outsource the copy-editing of news stories and columns, eliminating around 25 positions, a Newspaper Guild representative said Friday.
“My initial reaction is that is not something we are going to go along with and if that forces them to lay people off, we would prefer they do so under the terms of the contract rather than eliminate an entire group of people,” said Bob Mazzoni, the Sun-Times’ Guild unit co-chairman. “They obviously have the option … [to] go ahead and outsource anyway and we would take it to arbitration.”
The newspaper on Friday also eliminated an unknown number of positions in its advertising department, sources said.
Where the newsroom positions were to be outsourced could not be immediately confirmed; Mazzoni said one management representative at Friday’s meeting mentioned India and another referred to Canada. The Sun-Times has been outsourcing its small-type sports scoreboard material to a Canadian firm for several years, he said.
A spokeswoman for parent Sun-Times Media Group did not respond to requests for comment.
The company, which last year cut $50 million in costs and this year has said it plans to eliminate another $45 million to $50 million to stem losses, earlier this week proposed a 7 percent cut in compensation for all union workers at the Sun-Times and its dozens of sister Chicago-area publications and Web sites.
Sun-Times Media this week also told the Newspaper Guild of its plans to stop publishing 12 of its Pioneer Press suburban weeklies, laying off as many as 15 newsroom workers.
The Sun-Times’ Guild membership has a meeting set for Monday to discuss the management proposals.