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2 dozen news workers accept buyouts at Post-Gazette
[December 13, 2008]

2 dozen news workers accept buyouts at Post-Gazette

(The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 13--About two dozen newsroom employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette accepted buyouts on Friday from the newspaper, which floated the offer to cut costs.

Had fewer than 18 agreed to forfeit their jobs, management might have resorted to layoffs, a union official said.

The Post-Gazette offered to buy out about half the employees in its 200-person newsroom in mid-October. Workers who accept will receive one year of salary and one year of health care coverage, plus an option to buy two more years' coverage. Eligible are those whose age plus years of P-G service equal 70 or more.

P-G parent Block Communications Inc., Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday said it would lay off 25 workers at a sister paper, The Blade in Toledo, due to declining revenue.

Executive Editor David Shribman said the newspaper would "have to examine" whether any layoffs would still be necessary. He told workers in September that staff cuts were needed throughout the company but could not say yesterday how much money the buyouts would save.

R.J. Hufnagle, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and P-G associate business editor, declined to comment.

"It's always sad to say good-bye to colleagues," said Shribman. "Newspaper editors across the country are doing this, but so are people who run plants, factories and other businesses."

The newspaper is laying off between 10 and 20 Teamsters from jobs in circulation, transportation and the stock room by year's end. The P-G laid off 80 such workers in early 2007.

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