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The Star is firing everyone

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Old 11-03-2009, 05:58 PM   #1
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The Star is firing everyone

Toronto Star offering voluntary severance packages, layoffs likely
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The Toronto Star is "seriously considering contracting out segments of work" and is therefore asking employees to consider voluntary severance packages in advance of likely layoffs, Star publisher John Cruickshank told staff today in a memo.

In a note to employees (the full text of this memo is pasted at the bottom of this post.), Cruickshank told staff that upcoming changes at the paper will "involve what is likely to be the biggest restructuring of the Star's workforce in its history."

According to a document distributed to employees from human resources vice-president Brian Daly, the Star is offering (through what is being called the "Voluntary Separation Program") three weeks of severance for each year of service, up to a maximum of 85 weeks. It states that in all cases this voluntary program offers more severance than the collective agreement calls for in "contracting out circumstances." This situation applies to all permanent employees represented by the CEP Locals 87M and 591-G and all permanent management salary plan employees.

Cruickshank's note explains which jobs are likely to be outsourced. He wrote:

"We have also advised the CEP that we are seriously considering contracting out segments of work associated with the production of our print product. This work is currently performed within the Star’s Pre Publishing and Editorial Divisions. Within Pre Publishing, we are exploring the contracting out of ad building and the scope of this effort may expand to include some or all of the remaining work in the Division.

"Within Editorial, we are exploring the contracting out of some or all copy editing and pagination work, and the scope again may expand to include other editorial production and related activities. The scope of these and related outsourcing initiatives may well extend to work groups in other divisions of the Star.

"While contracting out in all of these areas is still under exploration, we wish to provide potentially affected employees and their union representatives with as much information as possible, as soon as possible."

Employees have nearly one month to decide as applications must be in by Nov. 30. Staff have been told that those who were told their job might be lost can withdraw their application if their job classification is not ultimately one chosen for outsourcing.


For further information, the full text of publisher John Cruickshank's memo to employees is pasted below:

Date: November 3, 2009
To: All Staff
From: John Cruickshank

As I mentioned at townhall meetings earlier this fall, the Star’s strategic plan calls for a fundamental transformation from a newspaper company into a multi-platform news and content organization. This will involve structuring the organization around the core capabilities that drive the business, and leveraging these core capabilities across new and emerging platforms. Beyond these core areas, we must find the best way to operate our business at the lowest possible cost, including contracting out non core functions where there is a sound business case to do so. This will involve what is likely to be the biggest restructuring of the Star’s workforce in its history. It won’t be easy. Changes will affect every job in every corner of the organization.

In light of the magnitude of the changes ahead, we are today launching a Voluntary Separation Program, to provide staff with additional choices. Details of the VSP are provided in the attached letter from Human Resources. Over the last month, we have engaged the CEP in discussions on the provisions of the VSP, and we are very pleased to advise that the final program reflects a signed agreement between the Star and the CEP.

We have also advised the CEP that we are seriously considering contracting out segments of work associated with the production of our print product. This work is currently performed within the Star’s Pre Publishing and Editorial Divisions. Within Pre Publishing, we are exploring the contracting out of ad building and the scope of this effort may expand to include some or all of the remaining work in the Division. Within Editorial, we are exploring the contracting out of some or all copy editing and pagination work, and the scope again may expand to include other editorial production and related activities. The scope of these and related outsourcing initiatives may well extend to work groups in other divisions of the Star.

While contracting out in all of these areas is still under exploration, we wish to provide potentially affected employees and their union representatives with as much information as possible, as soon as possible. We will of course provide the CEP with the details of our business cases for contracting out in these areas, once our investigations are concluded, and seriously consider all alternatives to contracting out that the union may wish to present. If we ultimately conclude that contracting out is not the appropriate route to take, then employees in affected job classifications will be able to withdraw their VSP applications if they wish.

It is understood by the company and the union that this general notification is not the formal notification of layoffs required under the collective agreement, which must still be completed along with the opportunity for the union to suggest alternatives to contracting out. The company will provide such formal notification as soon as the business reviews in the affected areas are concluded. Specific details on contracting out timelines will be provided as part of that formal notification.

We encourage staff, both within and outside these specific areas, to consider the VSP and to take advantage of the decision support services that HR will be providing. The VSP will be open for the full month of November, to provide employees with sufficient time to carefully weigh their personal options. I have asked all members of the Star’s management team to share information on possible workplace changes with staff during this time, so employees are as informed as possible when they make their decisions on the VSP.

Please review the attached material on the VSP and refer any questions to Human Resources staff. On behalf of the full executive team I thank all members of the Star’s staff for their continued commitment and dedication in these challenging times.

John Cruickshank
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:03 PM   #2
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Hopefully they can whoever was responsible for the website redesign.




Why can't people just leave things alone?
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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Should have just left it alone!

Torstar Electronic Publishing Ltd. - Front Page
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:11 PM   #4
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Should have just left it alone!

Torstar Electronic Publishing Ltd. - Front Page






for some reason that made me think of this

A Review of the Pirated Copy of Windows 7 I Bought On eBay | Cracked.com
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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Cruickshank
that's the name of hermione's cat.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:16 PM   #6
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Should have just left it alone!

Torstar Electronic Publishing Ltd. - Front Page
Ha seriously, I love the new site over the previous which was overly stale.

Not surprised to hear this after speaking to the only web designer they have there... the redesign was contracted out for the majority of the work.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:18 PM   #7
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I hope this meains Rosie Dimanno is out of a job. I hate her writing.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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Hopefully they can whoever was responsible for the website redesign.




Why can't people just leave things alone?
Most sites are being redesigned to offer more ad units. Before you get all pissed about more advertising though, those are the dollars that pay the website and staff's bills.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:20 PM   #9
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Ha seriously, I love the new site over the previous which was overly stale.

Not surprised to hear this after speaking to the only web designer they have there... the redesign was contracted out for the majority of the work.

Stale? Its a newspaper website. It used to be simple to use and had a layout that made sense. Now its just another crappy website with links to Facebook and Twitter. Blegggggh.

Probably made by the same firm that revamped MLS.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:21 PM   #10
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Most sites are being redesigned to offer more ad units. Before you get all pissed about more advertising though, those are the dollars that pay the website and staff's bills.
Thank god for ad blockers!
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:48 PM   #11
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A lot of papers in north america are subcontacting their graphic design and ad building departments to India. Considering they probably have really fast Internets connections it is doable, but it seems really retarded for a local paper.

Step 1: Star sells ad to local condom store.
Step 2: Star salesperson & store owner sketch ad on back of envelope.
Step 3: envelope is scanned and sent to India over Internets.
Step 4: Finished ad comes back over internets. Total design cost 221 ruppees ($5)
Step 5: Sent back to India for revision.
Step 6: Sent back to Toronto for approval, rinse and repeat.
Step 7: Press deadline, time runs out
Step 8: Voila!

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Old 11-03-2009, 07:04 PM   #12
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i feel like radio and magazine are last bastions of true journalism.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:14 PM   #13
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If you work in the print media industry and haven't already started your exit strategy, do so now because at some point you'll either have to jump ship or walk the plank and you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.

Why do you want to work in print media anyway?

Take it from me!
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:14 PM   #14
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Who needs'ses teh copy editors anyhose.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by alexd View Post
Step 1: Star sells ad to local condom store.
Step 2: Star salesperson & store owner sketch ad on back of envelope.
Step 3: envelope is scanned and sent to India over Internets.
Step 4: Finished ad comes back over internets. Total design cost 221 ruppees ($5)
Step 5: Sent back to India for revision.
Step 6: Sent back to Toronto for approval, rinse and repeat.
Step 7: Press deadline, time runs out
Step 8: Voila!
That, OR...
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:29 PM   #16
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....at some point you'll either have to jump ship or walk the plank and you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.
Your cutting edge advice is just the tip of the iceberg. Though I fear most of us have yet to face the music. Let's go back to the drawing board to create an exit strategy that pushes the envelope. It's not rocket science. We just need to think outside the box a little.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:29 PM   #17
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The Star's new copy editor:
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:32 PM   #18
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The Globe & Mail is more useful.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:45 PM   #19
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I hope this meains Rosie Dimanno is out of a job. I hate her writing.
I think they'd fire the president before they fired Rosie.

Just use the Globe & Mail. Better newspaper, better website.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:16 PM   #20
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I vote for Rosie to be first cut.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:19 PM   #21
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Closely followed by Joe Fiorito.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:20 PM   #22
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That, OR...
Actually, that is just about the digital Star. I am talking about the print Star with my India workflow story. Apparently, a lot of US papers are farming aout nearly everything to India, Thailand and the Philippines. That could happen to the digital segment as well.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:27 PM   #23
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Question - how do you outsource editing?
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:32 PM   #24
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Question - how do you outsource editing?
Uh, send someone the draft and let them have at it? Same as you do with insourced editing.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:33 PM   #25
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Actually, that is just about the digital Star. I am talking about the print Star with my India workflow story. Apparently, a lot of US papers are farming aout nearly everything to India, Thailand and the Philippines. That could happen to the digital segment as well.
If only we could outsource those damn pesky ttc booth workers to India somehow.
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