It appears that approximately 57 employees of MaineToday Media have been accepted for participation in the voluntary layoff offered by the company. More than half of these positions result from the consolidation of the company's printing operations into one facility in South Portland. Fifteen of the departing employees are Guild members.
It's too early to determine what affect this will have on the company's plans for layoffs between now and the end of the year. The company has yet to give us the 30-days notice for layoffs as required by the contract. We will notify our members as soon as we obtain any new information.
It is disheartening to see our co-workers leave us, and it is disconcerting to see such a large number of positions disappear. However, because so many employees have agreed to leave voluntarily, it appears that the layoffs will not be as deep as we had once feared.
During the past 12 months, our country has experienced a deep recession and an historic financial crisis. Our industry has faced the steepest revenue decline in our lifetimes. We have also seen our company change ownership, a potentially vulnerable time for all employees. So far, we have survived all of this without seeing any of our members being laid off. This is an achievement worth noting.
We know the next few months will be difficult We have made it this far together. And as always, we remain together.
Tom Bell President, Portland Newspaper Guild