The LA Times has started the process of laying off staffers on Tuesday, telling the LA Times Guild that 94 members will be impacted.
While lower than the initial rumored number of staff cuts, these layoffs are equivalent to around a quarter of the guild’s membership. Guild president Matt Pearce said LA Times management notified him that layoffs would be starting on Tuesday.
“This total, while devastating, is nonetheless far lower than the total number of Guild layoffs initially expected last week,” Pearce wrote on X.
L.A. Times management has notified me that 94 @latguild members are being notified of intended layoff today, or about one-fourth of our whole membership.
This total, while devastating, is nonetheless far lower than the total number of Guild layoffs initially expected last week.
— Matt Pearce
(@mattdpearce) January 23, 2024
According to reporting from the LA Times, management will be laying off at least 115 staffers, more than 20% of the newsroom. This number includes guild members and managers, and is expected to fluctuate as the layoff process continues over the next 30 days.
Patrick Soon-Shiong told the LA Times that cuts were necessary because the paper could no longer afford to lose nearly $40 million a year, without progress toward a more engaged readership that brings in more revenue.
“Today’s decision is painful for all, but it is imperative that we act urgently and take steps to build a sustainable and thriving paper for the next generation. We are committed to doing so,” Soon-Shiong told the LA Times.
Soon-Shiong also mentioned that Friday’s work stoppage spearheaded by the guild “did not help.”
Over 300 members walked out on Friday in response to management’s proposed layoffs.
On Monday, the union urged members to attend Wednesday’s bargaining session with LA Times management to observe and show support for the guild.
“The excellence of the Times is at risk,” an internal note to guild members read. “We are fighting to protect the institution, and one another. We should be proud.”
According to the Guild, “Management was clearly unnerved by our actions last Friday. We need our managers to know we are not letting up.”
Additionally, ten members of the California delegation in Congress sent a letter to L.A. Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and the L.A. Times Guild on Monday, expressing their concern over the scope of layoffs proposed by management, urging all parties to negotiate in good faith to “avoid a drastic measure.”
The congressional members urged management to consider taking a voluntary buyout approach rather than simply laying off staff.
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