Layoffs and Smaller Payrolls
While looking for articles on creative labor industries, I found two articles that were very interesting and related to the Hesmondhalgh and Baker article. Both examples demonstrate the growing industry with shrinking job security. First Disney Interactive is currently laying off 50 employees and restructuring its management due to declining sales. Second, the Louisville Orchestra is back with in its first season after many labor disputes and declining the orchestra personnel from 71-55 full time musicians.
The Disney Interactive unit employs 2,000 people and was responsible the the companies online and video game operations. Disney Interactive is one of only five Disney divisions that showed a net loss after this past fiscal year. Eighteen months ago, Disney Interactive laid off 200 employees. This year, there was a 22% loss, but is still a 51% improvement of last years time frame. All of the layoffs are to the employees on the online side of the company.
After a year of “protests fueled by accusations of unfair labor practices and failure to bargain in good faith, while the orchestra threatened to hire replacement musicians. The two sides have agreed to a one-year deal that will, among other things, reduce the number of musicians on the orchestra payroll from 71 to 55.” The CEO Rob Birman says that while there will be 80 plus musicians in some of the concerts, only 55 are on payroll. While many people argue that a small metropolitan museum can not support a 71 member orchestra, it is discouraging to see these full time professional positions disappearing.
These are just a few examples of the trends in media jobs. While many of us are in search for the answer to provide more stability in jobs, it think it will be a while before a solution will be found. It will have to be specific to each creative industry, unique to the needs of each media.
-Sarah E. Lempke
Louisville Orchestra Article: http://www.wdrb.com/story/19465770/louisville-orchestra-prepares-for-return
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