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T&G Massive Layoff: A Harsh Reality For Ex-Employees

Friday, April 06, 2012

 

If the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was offering alternatives for the 64 employees it is laying off, Luis Lopez didn’t get the memo.

“I knew it was coming, but it’s hard,” the 37-year-old father of two girls said of being laid off Monday from the job he held for six years at the T&G’s Millbury printing plant. “When I came here, they promised me they would not lay me off. Now look at me.”

Lopez, a forklift driver at the plant, said he knew something was wrong long before the layoffs were announced.

“(Business) was really slow,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to buy a newspaper anymore. They go to the Web site.”

Layoffs

Lopez is among 64 employees – 48 full-time and 16 part-time – getting the ax at the printing facility on Latti Farm Road. The newspaper, which along with the Boston Globe is part of the New York Times-owned New England Media Group, announced the layoffs earlier this year. Billed as a cost-saving measure, most of the T&G’s printing operations are being moved to Dorchester at the Boston Globe’s printing facility, although the paper will still print its Saturday edition and other commercial jobs in Millbury.

Katie Donahue, a T&G spokesperson, told GoLocalWorcester there would likely be other jobs offered to some of the workers.

“Typically, that option is available,” she said. “I don’t have any details.”

Lopez said he wasn’t offered another position, either locally or in Boston. He said the company did offer help finding another job, but that he wasn’t interested. He cracked a smile when asked whether he received a severance package.

“I did, yeah,” he said. “It wasn’t that great.”

He did not offer specifics, but said, like many other companies, the T&G offered a package based on time served. He didn’t say whether he was a union employee, but acknowledged some union members were among those being laid off.

Boston Newspaper Printing Pressmen’s Union, Local 3 represents some of the employees at the Millbury plant, but attempts to contact Martin A. Callaghan, union president and business representative, were unsuccessful.

Time off

Lopez said he plans to take some time off before looking for a new job. He was standing outside the Millbury plant Thursday, where he had gone to see his best friend, who was not among those laid off. He stood aside his car, one of three he owns.

“That’s my hobby,” he said. “I’m going to have to sell one now.”

Lopez drove a forklift for the T&G, a job he said he loves and one he’s been doing in some capacity the past 19 years. Before coming to the T&G, he worked for Goya.

“I started here part-time, they gave me full-time and gave me more money,” Lopez said of his T&G job. “I did both jobs for a month then I just took this one.”

Lopez said he’ll look for a job in a while, but that it will be difficult, saying, "I’ve had two jobs before this. I don’t like to jump job to job.”

Attempts to reach T&G Publisher Bruce Gaultney for comment were unsuccessful. Donahue said she was speaking on his behalf. Globe Publisher Christopher M. Mayer also could also not be reached.

When he does start job hunting, Lopez will have one clear goal in mind.

“I just want to work at a place where I know I will be for a long time,” he said, before politely saying he was going inside the plant to talk to other employees.

 

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