Maclean's marks its 100th birthday in October, but at least 11 employees currently listed on its masthead won't be there as a result of layoffs and resignations, the magazine's new publisher and editor-in-chief announced yesterday.
Kenneth Whyte, who became the magazine's first combined publisher-editor in mid-March, informed staff that three senior managers and six unionized staffers were being let go, and the editor responsible for sports coverage and special projects, James Deacon, had been asked to resign.
Removed as co-executive editors were Bob Levin and Michael Benedict, while Donna Braggins, who oversaw the new look of the magazine introduced in mid-2002, is no longer art director.
Mary Janigan, who joined Maclean's in 1983, was removed as the On the Issues freelance columnist. Mr. Whyte's cuts were especially deep in the magazine's research department, with six of its eight employees getting their walking papers, including chief researcher Valerie Marchant.
Two years ago, 18 Maclean's part-timers voted to join the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. As of now, the magazine has only three permanent part-time employees, while its full-time unionized editorial staff, also represented by CEP, numbers 32, compared with roughly 45 in 2001.
Howard Law, a CEP official, acknowledged "management has the right to lay off staff, but only under certain rules and we'll be making sure those rules are followed."
It is his opinion that Mr. Whyte, who has never managed a unionized work force until now, "has already violated the collective agreement by not first considering and discussing alternatives to layoffs."
Yesterday's departures were not entirely unexpected as Mr. Whyte, 44, former editor of the National Post and Saturday Night magazine, puts his stamp on the magazine.
Even more departures are expected to be announced, perhaps as early as today.
In a memo to staff yesterday, Mr. Whyte gave no overarching reasons for the change, except to say that he wants to "continue to invigorate Maclean's" and "reallocate" the research positions "to hire new reporters and editors."
(Last week, he announced that Luiza Savage, a National Post writer between 1999 and 2002, would join William Lowther in Washington as a contributing editor.)
A representative of Rogers Publishing, Maclean's parent company, said no senior manager would discuss the changes "in the immediate future.
"The main thing is we're trying to deal with this internally."