Sun-Times bracing for buyouts, layoffs

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial employees of the Sun-Times will be encouraged this week to accept buyouts before the next round of layoffs hits the financially troubled newspaper, sources said.

Sun-Times staffers represented by the Chicago Newspaper Guild will meet Tuesday night to hear details of the buyouts being offered as the paper’s parent company, Wrapports LLC, moves to reduce its payroll to offset continuing losses. Terms of the buyouts were negotiated between the Guild and company representatives.

The Guild contract with the Sun-Times currently covers less than 100 reporters, columnists, editors and other newsroom staffers. It is not known how many positions the company plans to eliminate through a combination of buyouts and layoffs, but sources said all editorial employees will be eligible for buyouts.

Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for Wrapports, declined to comment Tuesday.

Layoffs have been expected since Wrapports completed the sale of its 38 suburban newspapers to Tribune Publishing November 1. The move left Wrapports with only the Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader alternative weekly among its major holdings.

In the weeks after the suburban sale, a dozen or more jobs were cut, including two video producers. Dozens more were cut in 2013, including 28 photographers who were fired when Sun-Times Media laid off its entire photography department. The company later hired back four of the photographers as part of a settlement with the Guild.