WGBH says cuts, layoffs needed

From the Boston Globe

Officials at WGBH said yesterday that budget shortfalls will require major budget cuts and layoffs.

WGBH spokeswoman Lucy Sholley said it is unknown how many employees would be let go because the station is in negotiations with one of its major unions.

However, department heads were asked to cut their budgets as much as 8 percent to help make up an expected revenue shortfall of 12 percent in fiscal 2010, she said.

“We expect there will be layoffs,’’ Sholley said last night.

WGBH has been in talks with the Association of Employees of the Educational Foundation, Local 1300 of the Communications Workers of America, and has asked the union to approve a wage freeze and an end to pension contributions. The concessions would save the station an expected $1.3 million. Sholley said WGBH management agreed to the same concessions in September of 2008.

Union officials said they would meet with station management next week and added they had not seen any proposals. Last year after restructurings and layoffs, more than 22 employees lost their jobs. “One of the things it does affect is local programming, local production,’’ said union president Jordan Weinstein, “to what extent we don’t know.’’

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