Sunday, October 25, 2009

Buyouts offered at Arizona Daily Star

Buyouts are being offered at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. Reporters are exempt. A memo from publisher John Humenik says "only a limited number" of buyouts will be accepted from each department, but if that unmentioned target number is not met, layoffs will follow.

Humenik's memo:
Dear Arizona Daily Star colleague,

We are announcing a voluntary workforce reduction program for Star employees who meet certain eligibility criteria. This voluntary program is available to all positions in our newsroom, with the exception of reporters. Only a limited number of volunteers will be accepted from each department.

Eligible employees will meet the following criteria:
  • Regular full-time or part-time employment status, working 20+ hours each week;
  • Completed 5+ full years of service for Star pension vesting;
  • Qualify for the Star pension benefit plan as of Oct 31, 2009 (55+ years of age).
Eligible employees approved for the program will receive:
  • A severance package that includes two weeks of pay for each completed year of service (maximum of 26 weeks) in exchange for signing a severance agreement;
  • Severance paid bi-weekly for the duration of the period, less any applicable taxes or withholdings;
  • Participation in the 65% government subsidy program toward the cost of COBRA for up 9 months to subsidize medical coverage, based on the elected medical plan and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) eligibility guidelines.
If we receive more than an acceptable number of volunteers in a department, we will select employees based on length of service. While we prefer to avoid reductions, it may become necessary to consider an involuntary workforce reduction if we do not receive a sufficient number of volunteers.

If any employee wishes to inquire about the program details, please contact Kelly Acevedo, VP Human Resources, at 573-4252. The deadline to submit a written application to Kelly is 5 PM on Wednesday, October 28, 2009. We will review the applications and meet with the approved employees on November 5th and 6th, with that Friday as the last day of work.

John M. Humenik
Publisher & Editor

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