City Desk

Who the Post Wants to Get Rid Of

Washington Post Buyouts

The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, the union for Washington Post employees, sent its members a memo this afternoon on the Post's buyout offer, announced this morning. The paper is trying to eliminate 48 jobs from about 200 people eligible to volunteer to leave.

The union says the Post is offering 2.5 weeks of pay for each year employees have worked at the paper, plus three months of health insurance, for people who have worked there fewer than 10 years, or six months, for veterans of over a decade.

The paper is trying to get rid of up to nine employees from the Metro section, more than any other department. (But it's exempted six Metro staffers who work on local government, and listed their ages and job titles.) That department is, though, bigger than most others.

The full memo from the Guild is after the jump:

Friends,

As you know by now, The Washington Post has proposed a newsroom-only buyout that targets only some departments and individuals. The offer is open to about 48 percent of Guild-covered newsroom employees, or 219 individuals. The Post is hoping that at least 33 people and as many as 48 people will voluntarily accept its offer, according to documents delivered to the Guild on Wednesday and remarks by executive editor Marcus Brauchli at a Town Hall Wednesday morning.

Those eligible to apply will receive an election form and will have 45 days to weigh the Post’s offer. The Guild will make every effort to improve the terms of the buyout over the next 10 business days, as required by the Guild contract.

Certain departments, departmental units, and positions have been exempt from the buyouts, including Foreign, Sports columnists, Style columnists, Outlook, National enterprise and politics teams, and others. Part-timers and recent hires are also exempt.

In those departments and units that are targeted for buyouts, the Post has already identified, by age and job title, which employees are eligible and which are not, according to documents given to the Guild. For example, the Post has exempted six employees on the Local Politics Government team and listed their exact ages and job titles.

The initial proposal is an offer of 2.5 weeks of pay for every year of Post service and some health care coverage. Unlike previous buyout offers, the Post is not offering additional retirement benefits as an incentive to take the buyout. In other words, the Post will not credit people with extra years of service that would increase a person’s pension benefits.

Here are the basic terms of the Post’s Separation Incentive Program (SIP):

- The initial proposal offers 2.5 weeks of pay per year of Post service.

- Three months of Post-paid continued health benefits (COBRA) for those employees with less than 10 years of Post service; six months of such health benefits for those with 10 or more years of service.

Here’s a breakdown of 33 positions targeted by the Post’s offer:

- Up to three employees from News Operations, Research and News IT

- Up to three employees from Style and Features

- Up to three employees from Investigative

- Up to three employees from Universal Desk and News Interactivity

- Up to two employees from Sports

- Up to seven employees from News Presentation and News Video

- Up to nine employees from Local, AKA Metro

- Up to three employees from National's Economy and Business, and National, Health, Science and Environment teams

The Post has the right to allow more eligible employees to participate, if necessary. Under the company’s initial proposal, The Post also has reserved the right to reject an eligible employee’s offer to accept a buyout for operational or coverage reasons. The following are some departments, units and job titles that are exempt:

- Employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2010

- All part-time Newsroom employees

- National Politics and Government teams

- National Enterprise – all positions

- National Security – all positions

- Foreign – all positions

- Outlook – all positions

- News Presentation – Artists/Art Director (Graphics), Cartographer Artist, Designer, Graphics Editor

- Style – Critics/Columnists

- Sports – Columnists

- Capital Business – all positions

- News Columnists – Columnist

- Weekend – all positions

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