Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is McClatchy moving to reduce hours and benefits? What are you hearing? -- updated

Facing steep declines in revenue and circulation, newspapers are taking dramatic cost cutting steps -- including cutting back on hours and increasing out-of-pocket health care costs.

In September, McClatchy's The Olympian announced it was cutting hourly workers to 37.5 hours a week, but since then there has been no talk from management about reducing benefits. At the Modesto Bee, there is concern about management reducing full time workers down to part time, to allow a benefits cut. At the Lexington Herald-Leader, employees are in open enrollment and the benefits are the same as last year -- and I understand the current contract prohibits McClatchy from reducing hours.

So far it appears other newspaper chains are taking the most drastic action. Just last week Lee Enterprises announced it would stop or reduce 401k contributions for selected employees.

Chief Financial Officer Carl Schmidt said the company is reducing its 401(k) match but it varies from newspaper to newspaper, so details were not released. "It's an important element of our overall cost reduction program for 2009," he said. Lee, which publishes 49 daily newspapers and 300 weeklies in 23 states and operates Web sites, has 7,600 full-time equivalent employees. Schmidt said the move would affect a vast majority of workers.
At Gannett, out-of-pocket health care fees have already been increased.

What are you hearing? Leave info in comments.

UPDATED: Brandon Ortiz emails this about the Lexington Herald-Leader health benefits:
"... the premiums are slightly higher than last year. But they go up every year and that is to be expected with the cost of health care these days. Nobody likes it, of course, but I don't see as a major gutting of benefits."


Anonymous said...

In today's edition of the KC Star Classifieds: The KC Star seeks work-at-home individuals to enter information from their personal computers into the KC Star database. This is for free-lancers not employement with the KC Star.

Can you believe it? Is this their solution to reduce hours? Oh, I mean cut.

Anonymous said...

SO 1. they freeze pay. 2. they increase the ins. premiums...what/ 2-3-4 % It's like getting a negative raise...or rather a pay cut.
Before they got rid of us, we EARNED a WHOPPING 3% raise in August only to lose most of it in January when the new premiums kicked in.

.."Nobody likes it, of course, but I don't see as a major gutting of benefits."...

You don't see it...Are you blind!!!
AND every year the benefits are less and less. Less coverage, higher co-pays, higher deductibles, higher premiums, higher prescription costs...There is the real story! Too bad McClatchy doesn't have enough reporters to cover it! Maybe one of the CEO's could cover it. Seems they are CEO top heavy.