I woke up thinking about this photo this morning. In 2009, just more than a year after I started there, the News Leader in Staunton, Virginia mothballed the press and outsourced the printing to another newspaper. Workers used compressed air to blow paper dust off the surfaces. The space is now a CrossFit gym. It was the beginning of a cost-cutting effort that led to yet more layoffs and centralization of design and editing in Gannett hubs around the country. Just recently Gannett has announced that it plans to “spin off” the publishing arm of the company to focus on digital and broadcast. I’m not sure what that means, but I predict it means more job loss. 

There are times that I miss newspapers, but I am forever thankful for the skills I learned from working at a daily newspapers. I will treasure the camaraderie of a newsroom, there is nothing like it anywhere else. What I do not miss is the fear of losing my job and the absence of life outside work. 


BOYCOTT FOREVER 21

Retail company Forever 21 sent this letter to all full time/non-management employees informing them that they will be demoted to part time, they and their families will lose their health and dental benefits, and they will no longer qualify for paid time off. Employees believe the company is punishing them to retaliate against Obamacare.

We were asked to share this by one of our fans, and now we are asking you to do the same. Don’t underestimate the power of your SHARE. Two weeks ago, US Uncut was the first place to widely publish McDonald’s now notorious budget, and it went viral across mainstream media.

Thank you.

MAKE IT VIRAL

HMV workers appear to take over Twitter account amid layoffs

Workers at the troubled UK entertainment store HMV appear to have taken over the company’s Twitter account to announce layoffs, The Independent reports.

It’s not clear whether the account had been hijacked from the outside and within 20 minutes of the first tweet, all had been deleted. The company has declined to comment on the tweets.

HMV’s joint administrators confirmed that 190 layoffs have been made across the head office and distribution network, but added that there have been none in stores.

With a fair amount of big drugs due to come off patent in the coming years one of the biggest casualties may go well beyond revenue to talent retention. You see when drug companies start to layoff people because of declining revenues the people that are left are not necessarily the most talented they are most often the ones who are the most politically connected, the ones who are good at kissing up and ones who are great at maintaining their empire.

Image via Getty

Today in Book News: Hachette Book Group says it is cutting 28 positions, about 3 percent of its U.S. staff, as a “cost-savings initiative.” The news comes as the publisher is embroiled in a high-profile dispute with Amazon, which has removed the option to preorder a number of Hachette titles online. But Publishers Weekly notes that “while the timing seems to point to its fight with Amazon as a reason for the cuts, the realignment has been in the works for awhile.” 

Also in the news, Stephen Colbert gives Amazon the middle finger (literally and metaphorically), Ruth Graham takes aim at adult YA fans over at Slate, and Harper Lee ends her lawsuit against a museum in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala.

Read more here.

According to former Disney animator Tom Bancroft on Twitter, Disney gutted their hand-drawn animation division this afternoon, and laid off nine veteran animators, including some of the studio’s biggest names: Nik Ranieri, Ruben Aquino, Frans Vischer, Russ Edmonds, Brian Ferguson, Jamie Lopez and Dan Tanaka. Two of the animators who still have jobs are Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn. The news of cuts in their animation division was leaked last week, but I, for one, did not anticipate that all these top animators would be let go. We’ve reached out to the studio for comment.

UPDATE: According to Aaron Blaise in the comments, Alex Kupershmidt was not among those laid off.

UPDATE #2: The Animation Guild reported that 9 veteran animators were laid off today so there are still two names that are unknown.

UPDATE #3: And now the Animation Guild is reporting in the same link above that, “Other veterans are being called in to meetings to discuss pay cuts and/or buyouts.”

- cartoonbrew article.

Take the case of Ready At Dawn, the video game studio working on the upcoming PlayStation 4 game The Order: 1866. Though the studio had found some success making God of Wargames for the PSP, they had trouble convincing publishers to buy their other prototypes, according to a person who worked there. And in July of 2010, as the studio finished off God of War: Ghost of Sparta and prepared to move onto The Order, the folks at Ready At Dawn laid off 13 people—only to re-fill those same positions back six months later. (Ready At Dawn declined to comment for this article.)

…The thought might seem silly—why get rid of developers just to replace them in a few months?—but this sort of thing happens often. And the explanation is simple, according to one ex-employee. The development team didn’t need those people for pre-production—the period of time in which the basics of a game are conceptualized and designed—so Sony, the publisher, wouldn’t pay for them. (Sony didn’t respond to requests for comment on this story.)

If you’re even considering going into the game industry, this article is something you must read.

I seem to randomly meet AAA burnouts on a regular basis, and much of what this article talks about is why people leave the industry. It’s not just a few people. It happens in droves. Funny enough, after meeting so many people burned out on the AAA cycle of layoffs and crunchmode, I’ve chosen to be an indie developer despite the enormous risks involved. If I’m going to be financially uncertain, I’d rather do it on my terms. General consensus is that something has to change. This isn’t sustainable. 

Manitowoc, Wisconsin

The Manitowoc Co. is attempting to get a complete open shop. So the WI AFL-CIO, the IAM Local 516 strikers and the boilermakers who’ve been laid off and many others are supporting a solidarity rally in Manitowoc, WI this Saturday Dec. 10. The Manitowoc Co. is one of the top makers of cranes in the world and it also owns Manitowoc Ice which makes virtually all of the ice machines in hotels, motels etc. The company has operations in 26 countries and is a very big player in this market. This is a private sector version of the union-busting public-sector bill in Wisconsin.

Sign the petition supporting the striking machinists

I find it hard to read the news about anyone loosing their job but the layoffs of R&D people lately in the drug industry is alarming and more than disappointing. Cuts in R&D mean less new drugs in development and that’s bad for consumers and the healthcare industry. It also means that the days of a lot of big drug discoveries maybe coming to an end.

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