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AOL Investigates OUT Magazine's Outsourcing Debacle

By Stephan Horbelt
In case you hadn't heard, the entire editorial staff of Out magazine, the most widely read monthly LGBT publication in the country, was laid off with one month's severance last week—and yes, you read that correctly. Oh, but it's so much more complicated than that. Don't for a second think you've just picked up the very last issue of Out. On the contrary, the magazine plans to live on, though the publication's inner workings will be quite different, as will be how the editorial staff gets paid.

AOL Jobs has written a remarkable piece that delves into the consequences of the company's new arrangement (which you can read about here). Simply put, Aaron Hicklin, Out's editor in chief, plans to rehire some of the editorial staff to work for Grand Editorial, his brand-new start-up company that will contract out all editorial work to Out. More or less, the 12 editorial staff members (if they're lucky) will go from magazine employee to independent contractor. Perhaps they'll receive a pay cut, but most definitely they will be losing their benefits. As AOL states, they're looking at "No health and unemployment insurance. No pensions. You can be denied work because you're black, or a woman, or Buddhist, with no recourse." Ouch.

The AOL story not only looks at what happened at Out (a very interesting read, if I do say so myself), but also at the larger picture. "Out is an especially dramatic example of a larger trend throughout America"—basically that moving jobs overseas is not the only type of 'outsourcing' going on in American industries. While Hicklin has claimed this "was not a cost-cutting measure," read the story to see how changing your work status from 'employee' to 'freelancer' could be an entirely legal way for your employer to cut costs.

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