Employees at The Birmingham News could learn this week whether they will have jobs with new companies being created by Advance Publications or be sent home with severance packages.
Weld has spoken with multiple News staff members who requested anonymity because they are uncertain whether speaking to other media could affect their futures with the company.
According to News employees who spoke to Weld, the newspaper will begin having meetings with individual employees probably on Tuesday and perhaps as early as Monday. Once begun, the meetings are expected to continue for as long as three days.
A week ago, management at the newspaper told employees they would be sorted into three tiers. If management sticks with that plan, in the individual meetings employees would be told which tier they are in and given options for either staying with the company or leaving with a severance package.
The first tier of employees would be offerred similar positions with one of the new companies, the Alabama Media Group and Advance Central Services Alabama, with similar pay and benefits. If an employee does not like the job or compensation being offered, he or she may take a severance package similar to the newspaper’s most recent buyout offer.
The second tier of employees would be allowed to apply for a job from a list of new positions at the new company, but they would have to compete with candidates from Advance’s other newspapers and possibly candidates from outside the company. Should any of those employees not receive a new job with the company, they also could accept a severance package.
The third tier of employees would be offered severance packages only.
A number of things remain unknown and have left staff at Alabama’s largest newspaper guessing. Newsroom employees said it is unclear who had input in the sorting process. Also unknown is what conditions, such as non-disclosure agreements or non-compete agreements, could come with a severance package.
Staff have been told that they would likely have to continue with the newspaper until the transition this fall to be eligible for a severance package.
In New Orleans, Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss told employees that individual meetings would begin there on Tuesday, the New Orleans altweekly Gambit reported Friday.
UPDATE: Newsroom staff were told Monday afternoon that one-on-one meetings would begin Tuesday with staff members being taken by alphabetical order. The meetings are now expected to take only a day.
Meanwhile an ad on JournalismJobs.com seeks an experienced and energetic reporter for unspecified duties for unspecified pay at an unspecified newspaper in Birmingham, Ala.