‘Christian’ publisher fires 25 workers after one gripes about outsourcing

Nicole Choi | Contributor

Implying that he exercised the mercy of God long enough, Christian CEO Ryan Tate of Tate Publishing announced it was time to punish the “morons” and “idiots” who breached the company’s employee confidentiality contract and said to them, “I’m gonna getchya,” during a meeting that was secretly recorded.

Opening up with a prayer, the meeting was called after Tate and his employees received an email that was sent over Memorial Day weekend, according to ABC News. The email came from the company’s production department and is reproduced on Jim Romensko’s news blog. The unsigned email read:

Ryan Tate,

In 2009, Tate Publishing LLC was named one of the best places to work in the state of Oklahoma. In a post published on your blog in April 2, 2009, you say ”most publishers outsource and farm out their work because it is cheaper” and went on to say “we handle every element of production in house” and also “if you want to lead an industry and succeed you need to make the extra investment in the staff”. Three short years later, you have opened an office in the Philippines to do just that – outsource and farm out the work that has been done by loyal, hard-working Oklahoma employees. What has changed in that time that has caused you to come to the conclusion that “a staff that never quits” as you referred to them, are no longer worth the investment?

Requests made by The Daily Caller to Tate Publishing and Romenesko for verification of the email’s authenticity were met with silence.

Tate confirmed during the meeting that changes would be made at the company, but for reasons that were positive. The company was doing well and expansion to the Philippines would allow employees to do the work the publishing company actually hired them for, he said, rather than dealing with public relations, customer service and authors’ complaints.

The email was described by Tate as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” The CEO ranted and expressed his frustration about rumors of outsourcing and downsizing that were told to the Mustang Times and discussed online by employees via Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

In retaliation for the email, Tate announced that he would fire 25 production employees, presumably at random. He gave a sports analogy, asking, “did you ever have to run because some dumb you-know-what made a mistake? Did you ever have to pay the price for someone else’s stupid decisions?” He neared the end of his speech crying over having to fire “good-hearted people.”

“To those of you paying an unfair price, I’m really sorry,” Tate said to innocent employees he had decided to put out of work. “I’ll pray for you and pray for your families. I can’t turn away on this one. Not at this time when we have so much to accomplish.”

To the unknown guilty party, Tate said: “this is not a democracy. I don’t need any of your opinions. You don’t sit in the rooms I sit in; you don’t sit in the meetings I sit in. Everything you think, everything you want to assume. It means nothing.”

He also “threatened to sue staff members and file liens against their houses and cars if they violated their employee contracts by talking to the media or sharing information about the company on Facebook and Twitter,” reports the Journal Record.

To back up his threats, he told employees present at the meeting that former employees were currently facing a $7.8 million lawsuit for breaching employee confidentiality agreements — litigation that, as of May 31, Tate confirmed had not been filed, according to the Journal Record.

Tate told the Journal Record that the mass firing was “all disciplinary… it’s nothing to do with the company or outsourcing.”

The company will eventually open offices in China to expand into the Asian market, as well as establish itself in Australia to grow internationally, reports the Journal Record, and has posted several job listings for editors and book cover designers in Cebu City in the Philippines, where an office is planned to open in May 2013.

Tate reassured his employees that expansion would not result in any cuts in the Mustang, Oklahoma office. However, Journal Record reports that Tate later admitted, “[s]ome of the firings [announced in meeting] were due to changes in the company’s production demands.”

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