Determined to squeeze every last nickel from the withering carcass of The Indianapolis Star, corporate owner Gannett Co. plans to ship most of its local page-design jobs out of town.
Up to 10 full-time page designers will be laid off in March when Gannett moves the work to its regional design hub in Louisville, Ky. Star management told the employees of the upcoming layoffs during a meeting on Tuesday. Similar positions have been eliminated at other Gannett-owned newspapers in the Midwest.
Gannett has laid off more than 100 Star employees since 2008, forced newsroom employees to take 10 percent paycuts and allowed additional positions to disappear through attrition.
Employees have expected the move for more than a year. The weakened Indianapolis Newspaper Guild fought against the upcoming layoffs during contract negotiations in 2011 and 2012, but was unable to halt the plans.
The Guild's website has not been updated since the announcement to the employees on Tuesday, but referenced the planned move in its last post announcing workers' new two-year contract in February.
"Despite making it a focal point of the Guild's 'Save the Star' campaign, the Guild's team found that outsourcing the page-design work was an area where The Star was unyielding," the post reads. "We made a strong case — in leafleting efforts, a street protest, a media campaign and at the bargaining table — that this could damage the local news product. But it became clear that this was an edict from Gannett, The Star's parent company, and that the quality of the product was a secondary consideration to saving money."
According to various social-media posts, the affected workers were encouraged to apply for jobs in Louisville, but many are reluctant to leave Indianapolis.After spending nearly a decade as a staff reporter, Robert Annis finally broke free of the shackles of gainful employment when The Star laid him off in 2011. He now freelances full time, specializing in cycling and travel journalism.
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