No new cutbacks have been announced or even rumored, but the union representing reporters, editors and photographers at the Sun-Times cited September 27 as the expiration of a six-month moratorium on layoffs negotiated with the company.
“Instead of putting our heads in the sand, the Guild has decided to be proactive about this matter,” Craig Rosenbaum, executive director of the union, told members in an email.
In a letter signed last week by Sun-Times unit co-chairs Bob Mazzoni and Darel Jevens, about 30 key advertisers were solicited to influence Sun-Times bosses to “maintain or enhance” current newsroom staffing levels.
“Call or write your advertising representative and tell them you stand with us in our commitment to fulfill our responsibility to our readers — and to your prospective customers — by making the Sun-Times the best it can be,” the letter said.
Officials of Wrapports LLC, parent company of Sun-Times Media, declined to comment on the Guild’s letter. Jim Kirk, publisher and editor in chief of the Sun-Times, was expected to address the issue at a staff meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Wrapports negotiated an agreement with the Guild to last March to forestall layoffs for six months in exchange for reducing six full-time positions to part-time ones. The moratorium was approved after 15 Sun-Times staffers accepted voluntary buyouts.
Here is the text of the Guild’s letter to advertisers:
Because of your generous and loyal support of the Sun-Times, we are writing to ask for your help in keeping it a strong and vital part of Chicago.
As you might know, the Sun-Times has been through some ups and downs in recent years. Like many newspapers around the country, it faces considerable challenges and competition from alternative news outlets.
As the co-chairs of the News Guild unit at the Sun-Times, we think Chicago must continue to be a two-newspaper city that has valued content on its print and digital platforms, and we are committed to doing what we can do make sure our readers continue to get the breadth of coverage — news, features and sports — they deserve and have come to expect.
The Sun-Times now is under an agreement to lay off no union-represented reporters, columnists or editors. That agreement ends Sept. 27, so if you think the newsroom should maintain or enhance its current level of strength, now is the time to make that known.
The Sun-Times has been part of the fabric of Chicago for more than 75 years. Please continue to support it with your advertising, and please help us to maintain the standards and coverage that will the Sun-Times the kind of newspaper and digital platform that we are proud to produce and one in which you are proud to advertise.
Call or write your advertising representative and tell them you stand with us in our commitment to fulfill our responsibility to our readers — and to your prospective customers — by making the Sun-Times the best it can be.
Sun-Times sports copy editor
Sun-Times entertainment editor