By H.G. Watson, Associate Editor
The Toronto Star has laid off 13 editorial employees, primarily from the Star Touch platform, the same day as it confirmed it is closing its Vaughn-based printing plant and laying off the 285 employees that worked there.
On Jan. 14, the Globe and Mail first broke the news that the plant would be closed. Star officials later confirmed that they had signed a new printing contract with Transcontinental.
Later on Jan. 15, news began to leak that 13 newsroom staffers were also being laid off.
Hearing of buyouts/job cuts being announced @TorontoStar - on top of the 285 jobs lost due to the plant closure. This is a rough morning.— James Bradshaw (@jembradshaw) January 15, 2016
According to an internal memo from Star editor Michael Cooke, 10 of the editorial staff members are from the tablet team, three from digital. Twelve of the staff were on short-term contracts, while one was a union member.
“Many outstanding employees—in our newsroom, the press centre and elsewhere in the company—will be leaving, sadly,” Cooke wrote in the memo. “There is no way to put a positive face on that, but I can tell you that I am admiring and grateful for the contributions of our journalists who are leaving, and I am deeply sorry to see them go.”
According to the Globe, the circulation department is also losing 16 employees.
It didn’t take long for those laid off to announce their new employment status on Twitter.
programming update: i was just fired from @TorontoStar, one of 13 jobs in the newsroom eliminated today.— Jessie Willms (@jessiewillms) January 15, 2016
Well, I guess it was fun while it lasted.— Nicole Riva (@NicoleRiva) January 15, 2016
A voluntary buyout program is also being offered to editorial staff members.