I just wanted to use that headline, which is from one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs, called, cheerily enough, “No Quarter.”
No quarter means no mercy, a fitting description of how things are going at the good ol’ Mercury News these days. Come July 2, another round of slashing happens. We’ve got around 240 newsies drawing paychecks; the bosses want that number to be 200. They get what they want, which is the cool thing about being bosses.
Just like the last time this happened, nobody knows who gets the ax until the phone rings Monday morning, July 2. Presumably they do this for maximum productivity and minimum liability, but it obliges an entire newsroom to assume their jobs are not safe when 83 percent of the staff will remain. Upside is, we don’t have to suffer all this angst for 60 days like the last time.
Here’s the way things work in the business world: our union signed a contract with management in which they promised us there’d be no layoffs before the 30th of June. As far as I was concerned, it was as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise that layoffs would resume in earnest on the First of July. See what a pessimist I was? They’re actually happening on the Second, a full 24 hours later.
As I see it, it’s win-win: if no call comes July 2, I get to keep my job. If the call does come, I get lots of time off to explore all the opportunities I might’ve missed while working at the Mercury News.
As I said a couple weeks back, it’s a fun time to work in the newspaper biz.