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.