80 DC employees to move or be laid off

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201009211306 80 DC employees to move or be laid offWhen a company spokesman suggested that the LA Times story stating that 20 percent of DC’s 250 or 50 employees would be laid off, was incorrect, he was perhaps half right. Bloomberg News uncovered a NY State Dept. of Labor WARN filing (Worker Adjustment and Retraining) which says that 80 employees will be laid off or relocate. Layoffs will begin on 12/27/2010 and continue through 8/27/2011, according to filer June Martin, SVP Human Resources. A DC spokesman told Bloomberg:

“The reorganization of DC Entertainment includes promotions, relocations and layoffs, and beyond that we are not commenting on any specifics,” Paul McGuire, a spokesman for Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner, said today in an e-mail.


DC Entertainment head Diane Nelson had said much the same thing in several of her interviews.

Eighty employees represents about a third of the publisher’s work force.

Since this is a New York state filing, it’s unclear if this includes workers at WildStorm. As we reported yesterday, employees are under a NDA regarding their HR meetings, so no further details are available.

Comments

  1. Okay, so your report says the 80 includes those relocating, presumably the ones going to California, which we knew already knew was happening. So we don’t actually know anything more about layoffs from this.

  2. Being laid off and relocating are two very, very different things.

  3. Synsidar says:

    Having a specific number to work with is useful because it sets an upper limit on the number of people whose jobs will be directly affected by the relocation. If an employee is offered the option of relocating and keeping her position, but her moving expenses won’t be covered, moving might not be affordable, and voluntary departure could make her ineligible for unemployment benefits. An employee could be bumped down in pay grade, or position, and be faced with accepting a lower-paying job and/or having to cover moving expenses — or quit.

    Corporate reorgs are unpleasant things to go through. I lost my job at Sprint in 1999 because of a departmental reorg that eliminated my position and some others, and forced people to reapply for jobs, even though they were nearly identical to the old ones. I didn’t get the “new” job, so I was out. Luckily, I’d been with Sprint for ten years, so I got half a year of severance pay and full benefits.

    SRS

  4. Ah, the upper limit is the new news. Thank you, Synsidar.

  5. Chris Hero says:

    The first two commenters make it sound like being forced to relocate across the country is no big deal. I mean, there’s certainly a tremendously positive side to it, but it’s stressful all the same. I’m very sorry people are going through this.

  6. R. Maheras says:

    Last fall, when my branch office was permanently closed, I had the option of relocating 2,000 miles to a new position or going on unemployment. I chose the former. I’d been laid off a number of times in the past, and job-hunting is way more stressful than simply changing jobs and/or moving. So I damn sure wasn’t going to turn a job down during a recession — even if it meant moving to a mountaintop in Tibet.

    Those DC employees who have the option to move to Burbank and keep their jobs ought to think very, very carefully before turning the opportunity down.

    That said, and I am again speaking from experience, there’s nothing to say that there won’t be yet another reorganization a year or so after you relocate to accept a position, where you end up on the chopping block anyway.

    Still, in this economy, a decent job in the hand is probably worth zero in the bush.

  7. I was a part of the relocation to Burbank of the NYC-based Creative Studio for the Warner Brothers Studio Stores in ’96. And even though my entire division was closed in 2000 due in large part to the AOL merger, I would do it again in a heart beat. Warner Brothers was a great company to work for and they gave us plenty of help in finding homes, taking us on bus tours to all of the different areas of L.A. and showing us open houses.

    Some people in my department (myself included) were under contract and continued receiving our salary for the length of our agreement after the layoffs, so I recommend that if you’re offered a contract sign it. It will give you a hedge in case there are further layoffs.

    Warner Brothers Consumer Products even supplied us with a contact list of all of their Licensees to aid us in finding employment/freelance work.

    The fifteen years I spent in Southern California working for WB and Disney were among the happiest of my life.

    Good luck and good fortune to all of you DC employees.

  8. RCheli says:

    The problem that many people have in relocating today, though, is selling their house. This, in fact, is causing some of the unemployment problem.

    In the past, it was much easier to sell your place and move you and your family across the country for a job. Now, people have to consider how long it may take to sell their current property, which, for many, may delay their ability to buy a new property, and so on.

    I’m not sure what percentage of DC employees own their place vs just rent, however.

  9. Oy, I wouldn’t want to have to sell and move in this climate, though NY area housing is less depressed than most.

    Good luck, DCers. Here’s to hoping they don’t wound the golden goose.

  10. R. Maheras says:

    There are no easy answers, but if unemployment is not an option, and one wants to keep their house, one can either rent it, or go the geo-bachelor/geo-bachelorette route, which, in effect, sets up two households in geographically separate locations.

    Obviously, if one’s salary is not enough to make the geo-bachelor option work, then it’s a moot point.

    That said, out of necessity, I’ve had to go the geo-bachelor route three times, but it isn’t easy. To make it work, it takes sacrifice, and a very, very strong commitment by everyone in the family. In addition, the parties at both locations must firmly stick to their budgets.

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