The owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News have announced 19 layoffs in the editorial department after 21 employees accepted buyouts, reports said.
Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the two papers and philly.com, informed editorial staff of the planned cuts last month. They have been in secret talks with potential buyers to take over control of the company, but no sale has been reported.
The union which represents the affected workers said it will challenge the layoffs because there is no basis, according to reports. In a statement, the union said, “It is our position that between the significant savings of the salaries of the members who volunteered to leave, and the concessionary contract in 2010 that gave the new owners $6 million in cost cuts from our union, that enough is enough.”
The layoffs are expected to take effect at the end of the month.
The union also expressed its dissatisfaction with censorship from executives. Multiple stories about the sale process have been pulled from the website or tinkered with by management, according to the union.
“Perhaps instead of killing stories he didn’t like about the sale of the company and trying to be seen as some sort of digital visionary by holding press conferences at the Academy of Natural Sciences, giving free rent to start-up companies who play ping pong on the 5th floor at 400 N. Broad, creating a poorly-launched tablet and worrying about apps that make a few dollars, Osberg should be focused on properly staffing the newspapers in a manner that will allow more copies to be sold,” the statement said.
It was undersigned by president Dan Gross and executive director Bill Ross.
Management has not yet responded to the union’s comments.