New job cuts at Dow Jones

The company has laid off 40 workers since Friday, including 17 noneditorial positions at the facility at Ridge Road and Route 1.

By: Brian Shappell
   Employees at the South Brunswick location of Dow Jones & Co. are facing another round of job cuts.
   The company, which publishes The Wall Street Journal and other business periodicals, announced April 29 that it would cut 1 percent of its overall work force. Dow Jones has laid off 40 workers company-wide since Friday, including 17 noneditorial positions at the facility at Ridge Road and Route 1, as a part of the new cost-cutting measures.
   More layoffs are expected in the coming weeks.
   The company plans to lay off up to 100 workers, or 1 percent of its total work force, according to Steve Goldstein, a Dow Jones vice president. Mr. Goldstein said poor economic conditions, including low advertising revenue, have led the company to request that all departments take cost-cutting measures.
   Dow Jones cut 159 total employees from the local facility during two rounds of layoffs in 2001.
   Out of 202 employees laid off nationwide in March 2001, 98 positions were at the Ridge Road facility. The cuts equaled 6 percent of the facility’s work force.
   The move helped Dow Jones, which reported losses of $119 million in 2000, recover $60 million in expense cuts, some of which came from sources other than layoffs, according to company representatives.
   An additional round of layoffs came in July 2001 when the company cut 162 jobs company-wide, 61 from South Brunswick.
   The current round of layoffs are primarily in the telephone operations, secretarial, accounting and technical support departments. Employees that have been laid off will stop working for Dow Jones between May 25 and Nov. 12, depending on their respective positions, according to the IAPE Web site.
   "The economic climate still hasn’t improved to the level we hoped it would," Mr. Goldstein said. "We’re in a good position for when things get better, but we’re just not there yet."
   He said several departments were able to make internal cost cuts, including cutting travel budgets, to avoid cutting staff.
   This is the third round of layoffs for Dow Jones in the last 14 months.
   "The most common reaction is fear — how safe am I?," said Virgil Hollender, secretary and treasurer of the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, which represents approximately 2,500 of the 8,500 Dow Jones employees nationwide.
   Mr. Hollender said that, unlike the previous layoffs, this round comes as a surprise to employees.
   "As a matter of fact, many of our employees went to a meeting six weeks before with the chief financial officer who said that there were no planned cutbacks in the works," Mr. Hollender recalled.
   Mr. Hollender said he believes the continued cuts will make it difficult for the company to rebound financially because the shrinking number of workers will not be able to produce the same amount of work with many positions unfilled.
   "It’s disappointing because we’re already stretched and this is just going to add to it," Mr. Hollender said. "You worry about this starting a cycle that erodes the quality and further affects job stability."