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Plain Dealer news staff and management dispute how reductions are reached
Union says management lied about the  process as paper shifts to more online content
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


Reporter
Kevin Niedermier
 
Plain Dealer reporter and newsroom union official Harlan Spector (in blue) led the protest outside the paper's headquarters today.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s newsroom union says the paper’s management lied about the newsroom staffing as it shifts emphasis from print to the web.

LISTEN: Plain Dealer, union, dispute layoff numbers

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About three dozen of the Plain Dealer’s Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild members marched outside the paper's headquarters to protest what they say could be greater-than-agreed-to reductions. The reporters, photographers and editors say the union and management had agreed to keep rank-and-file newsroom staffing at 110. The figure would be reached through about 50 layoffs expected this week.

But union Executive Secretary Rollie Dreussi says he's just learned that the final newsroom number could be lower as the paper bolsters its online product. The reason is timing.

“We expected job offers for people in our newsroom to go to Cleveland.com.  We didn’t know how many or if there would be any at all. But if they did offer those jobs, anywhere for 12 to 15, they would come first then lay off down to 110, and that’s how many union member would still have jobs.”

Dreussi says the guild has been told website job offers could come after the layoffs, and if those offers are accepted, the newsroom number would drop below the agreed to 110.

In a written statement, Plain Dealer President Terrance Egger says the paper has always negotiated with its unions in good faith and honored all agreements, and will continue to do so.
Beginning next week, the paper will still offer print editions seven days a week, but it will cut home delivery from seven to four days a week.     

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