Union agrees to job cuts at Chronicle

April 19, 2009 6:08:05 PM PDT
More than 100 job cuts are coming to the San Francisco Chronicle. On Sunday the Teamsters Union voted to accept the cuts in an effort to keep the paper afloat.

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The union voted Sunday around 2:00 p.m. and by 2:30 p.m. they had an agreement. The writing has been on the wall for some time and now the signs are visible as the Chronicle begins to shed the legs of its operation.

Under Sunday's agreement 120 Chronicle delivery driver positions will be eliminated. These are the employees who drop off the bulk dailies to stores and neighborhood carriers who drop the paper at your door step.

The 410 Teamsters Union members voted unanimously to accept a buyout package which offers two-week's salary for every year of service. The drivers can volunteer to take the buyout package, but if 120 of them do not step forward, the Chronicle will begin terminating those with the least seniority.

"So, I need 120 people to take the buyout so I don't lose mine, because I have very little seniority," said delivery driver Jeff Schmidt who has been working for the Chronicle for about a year and a half.

"It's just the economy in general. We have no recruitment. We have no advertising. There's a lot of things that we're not doing. They're just no longer there and the people that read the paper have gotten older and not here anymore. The younger generation goes online, and things like that. So, it's just a change in time," said driver Hector Rosales.

The Teamsters Union says the good news is that they have a large number of drivers who are close to retirement age and will likely volunteer to take the buyout. The union says it is making the best out of a bad situation.

The internet and Craigslist have forced traditional newspapers to retool their business models, but so far, the industry has not found a successful business model.

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