Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Since the last time

When last I wrote on Aug. 9, I reported on our tentative decision to close the Freeman’s pressroom and mailroom and to move those departments’ operations to our sister company in Troy. I also mentioned the possibility of outsourcing our newspaper distribution to a third-party vendor.

Here’s what’s happened in the weeks since:

We have had meetings with unions representing employees who would be impacted by this decision, if it’s made final. We’ve provided the unions with financial data and explanatory documents explaining in detail the thought process that has led to our tentative decision. We’ve also solicited questions, comments and concerns from the unions, and offered them the opportunity to provide proposals of their own. The unions have responded thoughtfully and professionally, and we are in the processing of negotiating the terms of so-called “shutdown agreements,” which would then have to be ratified by the rank-and-file.

Meanwhile, we’ve continued to explore and fine-tune implementation of our tentative decision, should it become final, with our colleagues in Troy. Such important matters as production deadlines and computer protocols are high on our list.

We’re also still working on circulation details with a distribution company, should we decide to go through with this project.

And, I’ve heard directly from representatives of Ulster County and Kingston city government. They’re understandably concerned about the prospects of residents losing jobs. So am I.

There are many moving pieces to this project and each requires considerable attention. The seriousness of the initiative isn’t lost on any of us, in particular because it would impact several dozen employees, full and part time, union and non-union. I can assure the community – as I’ve assured the employees – that none of this is being taken lightly.

I’ll keep you informed in this space.
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