The company is intimidating newer employees by insisting that a Guild contract would include strict “last in, first out” language for layoffs. In reality, the members each Guild unit sets their own goals for seniority language.
The UMG has negotiated two other GateHouse newspaper contracts. Here is the layoff language for each.
Peoria Journal Star: “In discharging because of lack of need for services, the Publisher will give due consideration, among other objective factors, to the general competency, qualifications, ability to do the work assigned and length of service of any employee who is selected for discharge. It is understood for the purpose of this paragraph, first consideration be given to the factor of length of service.”
Pekin Daily Times: “The number of employees dismissed by layoff shall be reduced to the extent that the necessary payroll savings have been achieved by voluntary resignation. Remaining dismissals, if any, shall be made with the inverse order of seniority in each department, as defined in Article 1, Section 1, being a high priority but not the final determining factor, insofar as seniority shall only be bypassed for an employee who has uniquely outstanding abilities, specific expertise that is now shared by a more senior employee, or has clearly outperformed an employee with more time of service.”
In each case, the company has the latitude to pick and choose which employees to keep, based on merit.