Thursday, February 05, 2009
How Do We Say Goodbye?
Walking into the pressroom at the Los Angeles Times Olympic Facility this morning felt like walking into a funeral in progress, as my colleagues huddled together near the payroll sheets where we sign in daily to comfort one another. Many had glassy red eyes from either crying or from a sleepless night with sleep broken many times through the night due to stress and anxiety of the mass layoffs of co-workers.
Several colleagues were noticeably absent this morning as they either spent a sick day or just maybe had other plans and used a floating holiday to allow the bad news to sink in. With the Tribune Company policy on sick days of use them or lose them I can understand why many about to be let go would opt to use their five sick days before March 4th.
What do you say to someone about to lose their job in four weeks to make them feel better?
With 133 announced layoffs so far at the Los Angeles Times (70 in editorial and 63 in the pressroom), where will the 167 other displaced workers come from? This round of downsizing will impact every department in Operations, with our service shops revealing on Monday how many in their department will be impacted.
With so many long faces in the pressroom office we suspect our pressroom supervisors will most likely also be kicked to the curb sometime soon, and we wish this on no employee or their families.
I spoke with our plant manager, Greg Malcolm, early this morning and he noticed many workers ignored him, or walked through the printing press units to avoid contact with him, he said he understood how the employees felt. Mr. Malcolm also said his office was open to any employee that wanted to talk about the downsizing or any other subject on their mind.
The next four weeks will prove to be rather difficult as March 4th approaches and many colleagues that feel more like relatives than co-workers prepare to depart the newspaper.
There will be no parties as this is not a celebration, but a death march!