The San Diego Union-Tribune has laid off 20 employees in its pressroom, about one-fifth of the entire staff in the department, a labor union official said today.

The layoff notices came over the weekend, said George Huber, secretary- treasurer of Graphics Communications International Union 432M, a unit of the Teamsters that represents the newspaper’s pressroom employees.

About 80 workers are left, he said.

Like other newspapers in the U.S., the U-T has laid off and bought out workers in recent years amid faced sharp declines in advertising and subscriber numbers. The number of pages in the newspaper has shrunk dramatically, and the U-T presumably has less need for pressmen because there are fewer pages to print. The newspaper is currently for sale.

U-T representatives didn’t return a request for comment this afternoon.

The laid-off employees, who had as much as 28 years of service, will get several weeks of severance pay and the company will pay for medical insurance through the end of the month, Huber said.

The newspaper will consider rehiring workers if positions open up, but that seems unlikely, Huber said. “They’ll have to train for something else or go on relief. The union doesn’t have money to be supporting them.”


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