Monday, March 16, 2009

The News Tribune to lay off 30 employees, cut wages

Via comments, here is the email from David Zeeck, publisher of The News Tribune, announcing layoffs and wage cuts:
In February and then again last week, we told you that we were still developing our expense reduction plans and would finalize and communicate them to you as soon as possible.

Today, I want to share with you what those plans mean for The News Tribune. We are announcing plans to reduce our workforce by 30 positions, or about 7% of all employees. Although many of these job eliminations will occur through involuntary layoffs, there also will be opportunities for employees to voluntarily elect a severance package where reductions are occurring in work groups of two or more employees. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced according to least tenure.

Reductions will occur in all areas of the operation. Employees affected by this reduction will be notified and provided with information about a transition package. We appreciate their contributions to The News Tribune and will do everything we can to make their transition as smooth as possible.

In addition, we are implementing wage reductions for all employees whose compensation exceeds $25,000 annually. Anyone making more than $100,000 will have their pay reduced by 10 percent; those making between $25,000 and $100,000 a year will have their pay reduced 5 percent. In addition all executive bonuses have been eliminated. Every employee will receive a letter detailing the impact of the wage reduction on their pay and will have the opportunity to ask questions. These wage reductions take effect on April 13, 2009, and will be reflected on the paycheck you receive on May 1, 2009.

I will make my way around the building and to The Gateway for departmental meetings throughout the day, so that we can explain the other operational changes in greater detail.

These are difficult decisions, especially when it means saying goodbye to friends and colleagues, some of long standing. But we must make these additional cuts to remain a viable business and because the economy forces us to hasten our transition to a truly hybrid print/digital information business.

As to the question of furloughs, which has been raised in conversations I’ve had with every department: We are not planning furloughs for the first half of the year. However, we may revisit that option later in the year if financial conditions do not improve. Details will be provided if and when a decision has been made.

I’m sorry that developing this plan has caused anxiety as you waited to learn the details. I want to assure you, however, that the waiting and the careful planning was valuable. As we will make clear in departmental meetings today, many jobs were saved through creative and judicious cuts and adaptations made elsewhere to our operations.

And these cuts, though painful, move us much closer to a new business model with greater flexibility, a lower cost basis and a much higher chance of ultimate success than the traditional print model.

We now ask, as we have in the past, that you focus your efforts on helping our newspaper and Web site remain successful and thrive in the new media world.

Please contact human resources if you have any questions about the severance program or wage reductions.



Hat tip: comments. To see the latest info on McClatchy layoffs, click here.


Anonymous said...

these numbers are not correct there are a lot more being let go. not sure why they do not mention this.
When the Olympian moved here they anounced 8 cuts when in fact they cut all of mailroom 20+ and some from other departments.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly, there's supposed to be announcements at The Olympian today, too, but no emails have been sent out (which makes the Olympian employees who've already had their jobs unceremoniously moved to Tacoma while getting their hours cut feeling a bit stressed -- especially those of us who are only working in Tacoma, and not going between locations and getting paid mileage).

Anonymous said...

Word leaking up to Tacoma about the Olympian... apparently the Olympian is cutting 15%, and all of their classified is moving to the TNT (although one would think someone would have to stay in Olympia to take in-person classified ads). The Oly people who've been moved to Tacoma are constantly hearing about how depressed the Oly people who are still working in Olympia act all the time (yes, they have a right to be depressed... they haven't had their commute times expanded from 15 minutes to an hour in each direction, they could still go home for lunch if they want, as well as run other local errands). Hopefully once everybody's been moved to Tacoma who can be moved to Tacoma, the whining will stop about how depressed they are.

Anonymous said...

Seattle PI goes online only. Last print edition tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

what's going on at The Olympian? I heard there was a meeting this morning .... 15 employees will be layed off, 5 percent pay cut and also possible involuntary layoffs? Can someone confirm?

Anonymous said...

What, no form letter?

Anonymous said...

That letter from the publisher sent a chill down my spine. With the exception of the part about pay cuts, the entire thing is a carbon copy of the letter tacked on the board at The Olympian last fall before I was given the choice between transferring to Tacoma or losing my job.

Looks like there isn't anywhere left for me to transfer to this time around. I'll find out for sure when I walk through the doors this evening.

Anonymous said...

what a f'in joke!

Dave Z, for a smart guy, you got set up big time. When things get better you'll be out.

I feel bad for you at TNT, your poor management has cost you more jobs than you think.

I'm sure Cheryl Dell is laughing her ass off to the bank. And I bet some managers are selling most of you out right now. Am I lying?

Ask them to see the ranking reports of eac employee they created months ago. They need this day would happen and they got you to work look enough to save themselves at your expense.

But they're your friends right???

Yeah, how many still go on vacations, have nice cars and houses?

They're protecting their asses. just like the old timers who want you around to play their pensions

Anonymous said...

I'm a hanger on. I see it as nothing more than buying time until the inevitable happens. But only those going through the process will ever know how bad it is to see people whom you've worked a colorfully, long career with suddenly let go -- worse yet, put into an arena with others in the same department and left to "duke it out among themselves" as to who stays and who leaves. Everything happened yesterday, but I feel all the worse for it today.