Boston Globe Cuts Dozens of Staffers

The staff reductions at the city’s broadsheet came through layoffs and buyouts.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

The Boston Globe reduced its workforce on Thursday by dozens of people through a combination of layoffs and buyouts.

The reductions at the Globe come one month after the newspaper cut 12 staffers at its sister online publication, Boston.com.

In an email to staffers, editor Brian McGrory said 17 of the reductions came through buyouts and “nearly two dozen” were through layoffs.  The cuts of full-time and part-time staffers are expected to continue next week.

Full email below:

From: McGrory, Brian
Date: October 15, 2015 at 8:25:00 PM EDT
Subject:Today

To all,

This was a tough day in this newsroom. A layoff process began this morning and won’t be fully over until early next week, though the vast bulk of the departures occurred today. In all, we’re parting ways with nearly two dozen part- and full-time staffers, some relatively new, some who’ve been here a long time. Another 17 newsroom members accepted the recent buyout and have left already or are planning to leave in the coming weeks. These are sizable numbers, but we’re facing unfathomably difficult forces in the news industry. That, you already know.

We’ve worked beside these departing colleagues day after day, sometimes year after year. They’ve made us look good from the copy desk, traveled the world chasing major events, been pioneers in digital journalism, and brought national recognition to our features sections. They’re also our friends.

There’s little that a newsroom has that’s more important than its reputation, and these colleagues have helped burnish ours – something that doesn’t happen overnight, but over decades. Which is to say that not only are their contributions deeply valued, their impact is deeply rooted.

Going forward, we have a big, talented, ambitious staff, among the absolute best in the business. We’ll continue to invest in the aspects of this organization that will allow us to flourish, just as we need to be ever more creative in how we go about our work. There’s no time these days to stand still, and from everything I hear in the room, no desire to do anything like that. You know this already but I’ll say it anyway: The Boston Globe is incredibly well positioned to thrive.

By the way, your performance, journalistically, has been something to behold through this period of uncertainty. And stay tuned. Some of our best work will be on display in the coming weeks.

After the process ends, there’s much to discuss, and we will. In the meantime, please know that there were no good choices to be made today – only necessary ones.

The Boston Newspaper Guild sent out an email on Wednesday in anticipation of the cuts:

From: BGOL Office
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 9:27 AM
Subject: important message from your union

Dear Members,

We are writing in response to the many questions we have received concerning layoffs of Editorial members.  We have not been notified of when this layoff will occur or how many members will be affected, but we want to reach out to you beforehand to ensure our ability to respond quickly.

When the company lays off a Guild member, we are given very short notice. Because of this, we are asking you to please respond to this email and provide your personal email & phone number. We will use this information to contact you regarding a meeting we plan to schedule with our union attorney after the layoffs have occurred.

We encourage members to preserve work emails about their performance and any performance reviews for the union’s use in challenging the company, should there be a violation of the contract.

We appreciate that this is a stressful and uncertain time for our members. The union is committed to ensuring that the contract is followed to the letter, and we will work with you to make sure your rights under the contract are protected. Please let us know of any questions and concerns.

In solidarity,

BNG Executive Committee

UPDATE: The Guild sent out the following email on Friday morning.

From: BGOL Office [mailto:office@bgol.org]
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 9:37 AM
Subject: response to editorial layoffs

Dear BNG member,

As you know, twenty of our valued friends and colleagues lost their jobs in layoffs at the Globe this week. It’s always hard to see our newsroom lose good people; it’s much more difficult when the decision to leave is not their own. Members of the union’s executive committee have connected with most of the affected employees and will continue to work with them in the days and weeks to come to ensure that their rights under the contract are protected. Nearly half of those let go this week were laid off outside of seniority order, an unprecedented and deeply concerning move by the company that will be closely scrutinized by the union and its lawyers. 

As longtime professionals in this long-suffering industry, we understand the business realities of 21st-century journalism. We have little choice but to place our faith in the judgment of those who lead us forward, and to hope that these painful decisions will one day be seen as part of our slow progress toward long-term stability. In the meantime, we share your concerns about the future, and about the contradiction between these very painful cost reductions in our newsroom and the ongoing investment in other Globe initiatives outside our union. We will continue our efforts to understand and track the role of those new initiatives, and to enforce the contract’s limits on them, and we hope the company will choose to help us do so. 

Most importantly today, we acknowledge the dedication of those Guild members who are no longer sitting here beside us, and honor their countless contributions to this remarkable enterprise. We have been through a great deal together, and they will have our respect and gratitude forever. 

In solidarity,

BNG Executive Committee