Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No severance pay?

All through the 1990s, I worked at the Boston Globe. I made some great friends there and I learned a lot. Now, I'm not sorry I left, but I've also always understood why others stayed. It is the biggest newspaper in the region. The most respected and seemingly the most secure. But over the last few years, I've also seen friends take buyouts. And now - layoffs. Several people I know were among the 27 employees laid off on Friday, including one dear friend. But what nobody had told me (everyone is very shaken up and teary) is something I just heard on the radio: Those laid off were not given any severance pay. None.

Now some of these are people who have worked for the paper decades. They were not "fired for cause." They've done nothing wrong except be extraneous in a lean time. And they're not given two weeks' pay? A weeks'? That is low.

7 comments:

karen said...

That is just inhuman. I'm sure some of the higher-ups in management could have sacrificed some of their salary and/or bonuses to make sure these loyal employees have at least the sham of a safety net provided by two weeks' severance. Isn't there a union there?

Clea Simon said...

There is a union and, yes, part-timers are part of it. I don't understand. I have now also heard that those were laid off were told to leave immediately and at least in some cases, watched as they packed up personal belongings and were escorted off the premises.

chris v said...

A shame when it gets cheap - and nasty. Don't want them stealing a paper clip, huh? And what good is a union then? Sounds like they lost their bite. All those years you pay dues, and for? Shame how newspapers are going, seen some of mine dry up or in trouble also. I guess when the buyout is offered, take it.

Caroline said...

Oh God, things are so horrible all over.

caryn said...

That packing up and being escorted off the premises is a very common practice in the business community. Sadly so is the chincy severence.
I was really ragged off when the one AIG executive said he gave his entire bonus to charity. He's going to get a take right off on money that you and I have paid him? How about returning it to the government so they can help some of the small businesses that are going under by the drove?
(I am currently reading Probable Claws)
Caryn in St. Louis

Clea Simon said...

Thanks for reading Probable Claws, Caryn! I didn't know this was common. I've been fired a few times in my life (and escorted off the premises once!). Each time I at least got two weeks' pay (really! go figure). And the friend who was laid off had been there, a really loyal and hard-working employee for more than 15 years! Sheesh!!

Karen said...

A similar tragedy has befallen "The Providence Journal." I am among the fallen, laid off as a Prepublishing Specialist, but allowed to "bump" another union employee, a Clerk Typist who actually wanted to be laid off. But they cut my pay by $400 per week, and - until the union goes into arbitration, and unless they win - I will be working just as hard to make almost half my previous pay. The company has no respect for the newspaper industry. They contend that we "voluntarily" bumped into positions, and should not retain our previous pay, even though the contract says we should retain our pay, and there are previous employees who have set a precedent by keeping their present rate of compensation. Who ever thought we would see such a day!