Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NBC Universal Seeking Another Round of Voluntary Buyouts from News Staff

By Felix Gillette

Looks like the buyout offers are coming early this year at 30 Rock.
The Observer has learned that in recent days NBC Universal executives have approached a large number of employees across its news divisions and bureaus, announcing that the company is looking for unspecified number of staffers to take voluntary buyouts.

In a series of meetings with human resource managers, staffers at NBC News and MSNBC were told that if targets weren't met voluntarily, employment challenges lurked ahead. Employees at the Nightly News were told the grim news on Friday, September 11.

This is the second time in less than a year that NBC has sought voluntary buyouts, as part of broader cost reduction measures.

According to our sources, NBC has even offered the buyout package to a number of "freelance" employees who do work for NBC but have limited contracts through General Electric's alternate, private billing vendor, Yoh.

"They want to be able to say that they've tried everything they can, and tried to see if there are people who want to go, before forcing anyone to go," said one source with knowledge of the situation. "Given the state of the media, it's hard to imagine they'll have too many takers. Look for another round of layoffs during the annual NBC Christmas holiday layoff season."

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