Most employees of WYTV-TV (33) are in effect being forced to reapply for their jobs, reports the Youngstown Vindicator.

And if the station’s new owner, Parkin Television, keeps them, they’ll lose their seniority and have to go through a 90-day probation period.

It’s the latest nasty shock to hit the staff at WYTV, which recently learned that CBS affiliate WKBN-TV (27) will be taking over many of its production functions. WKBN’s owner, New Vision Television, has close corporate ties with Parkin; indeed, the two companies share office space in Los Angeles, and New Vision has an option to buy WYTV within a year.

More than 50 reporters, cameramen, producers and technicians at WYTV, an ABC affiliate, and more than 30 at WKBN, are represented by the National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians. Local union president Jeff Necko tells the Vindy that Parkin still hasn’t said how many might be laid off at either station.

The Mighty Blog of Fun(TM) known as Ohio Media Watch has analysis of the moves, which its anonymous author predicted several weeks ago … and which were explicitly denied at the time by Todd Parkin of Parkin Broadcasting.

“How can you trust an owner who does this?” asks OMW. “When WYTV promotes whatever its newscasts will become after WKBN/WYFX takes them over, how will they promote them? Will they proudly note that ’33 News’ is ‘a more efficient station,’ with less people replaced by people you already see on two other channels? We doubt it.”