Post: Rehire Mike Littwin or Penny Parker or be columnist-free 'til 2013?
Earlier this week, we interviewed the Denver Post's sole current metro columnist, Tina Griego, who's accepted a severance deal originally designed to reduce the paper's copy-editing staff by two-thirds and will soon be moving with her family to Virginia. Her replacement? Our interpretation of the guild contract, on view below, is that the Post must either rehire laid-off columnists Mike Littwin and Penny Parker or go without a metro columnist at all until 2013.
In response to a previous interview request, Post editor Greg Moore told us he'll be unable to comment about the severance offers until they're complete. Initially, everything was supposed to be wrapped up by month's end, but we're now hearing it may take until June to do so.
And this week, Moore wrote, "I have not decided what we will do regarding replacing her" when asked about plans for a Griego successor.
Likewise, representatives of the Denver Newspaper Guild have declined to elaborate on the upcoming exits beyond a statement decrying the copy-desk cuts. It reads in part:
We at the Denver Newspaper Guild consider ourselves partners with Denver Post management in the effort to position the newsroom and the company to thrive in the new media environment. However, we disagree in the strongest possible terms with the company's decision to lay off two-thirds of the paper's copy editors. We feel it is a shortsighted cost-cutting measure that will irreparably damage The Denver Post.
However, multiple sources pointed us toward a section of the Post's contract with the guild; it expired on March 10 but continues to govern operations at the paper while negotiations for a new pact are taking place. In a section about "Employee Security," the document outlines rules for "Dismissals to reduce the force, as distinguished from dismissals for just and sufficient cause."
The text notes that "Employees who are dismissed to reduce the force and employees who have elected to bump into another job title will be placed on a rehiring list, based on seniority, and will be rehired on a seniority basis in the old job title if and when a vacancy occurs." Moreover, the contract continues, "All rehire lists shall be maintained for one (1) year from the date of dismissal."
Page down to continue reading about the Post's columnist situation.