Thursday, March 19, 2009

AJC layoffs: The shoe is dropping

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 4:11 PM

click to enlarge AJC: Scary Memo 2
  • AJC: Scary Memo 2

Well, now we know the long-rumored payroll-trimming at the AJC aren't happening this week.

On Wednesday, AJC employees received a memo telling them to update their personal contact information – home phone, cell numbers, next of kin, etc. – by close of business Friday. The last time management made that request was just before last summer's buyouts, so that all staffers who weren't in the building that day could still be contacted in a timely fashion.

So, it now appears large-scale layoffs are a certainty. The questions that remain are, when, how and, most importantly, who?

There's some scattered speculation that the folks being let go will be contacted at home and told not to come in to work. That sounds pretty crummy, but, really, is there a nice, friendly way to sack someone? I've already heard that some employees are packing up any personal belongings they have at the desks, just to be on the safe side. Others are reacting by setting odds on their own departure.

I've discovered you can't bring up the subject of layoffs with an AJC reporter without getting into a 40-minute conversation. Frankly, I don't see how anyone over there can get any work done. (It reminds me somewhat of our own bankruptcy predicament and the long, anxious wait before the ax finally falls.)

As to exactly who stands to be cut loose, it's anybody's guess. I've heard certain old-timers say they're convinced they're going to be shown the door, but I have no basis for speculation. The only given I've heard is that the newspaper has already announced a plan to lay off part-timers.

Whatever happens, I think most folks are now guessing it'll come down early next week.

On the bright side, as one reporter said: "At least I know I've still got a job through Friday."

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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