Sun-Times offers to postpone layoffs — with a catch




Sun-Times editorial employees represented by the Chicago Newspaper Guild will vote on a proposal Monday that would forestall layoffs for six months at the financially troubled newspaper.

But there’s a catch: The moratorium on layoffs is tied to an agreement to reduce six full-time positions to part-time ones in areas where management expects to reduce coverage.

The six unspecified employees, chosen regardless of seniority, would continue to receive full benefits but would be paid for an 18.75-hour work week. “Instead of accepting the part-time position, those individuals have the option to leave the company and accept a financial package at a minimum of $15,000,” according to the Guild’s explanation of the proposal.

Leadership of the Guild has recommended that members approve the deal at a meeting Monday night. The Guild represents about 55 editorial employees at the Sun-Times.

“The company has said an unspecified number of layoffs will occur if the proposal does not pass,” the Guild communications said. “The six-month moratorium on layoffs will follow, either after this proposal's passage or after the next layoffs if it is rejected.”

The move comes one week after 15 Sun-Times newsroom staffers resigned after accepting buyouts offered by parent company Wrapports LLC. Layoffs were believed likely to follow if the company did not achieve its cost-cutting goals through the buyouts alone.

Sun-Times management declined to comment Friday.