The Tri-City Herald says it has laid off 3 employees and will reduce wages for most employees.
The Tri-City Herald announced a wage cut for employees and other changes on Friday as the newspaper responds to reductions in advertising caused by the national recession..
Readers also are seeing changes as the Herald has reduced pages as businesses have reduced advertising, which provides most of the newspaper's revenue. The Herald prints an approximate mix of 58 percent news and 42 percent advertising each day.
Three Herald employees who work in its commercial printing division, which prints products for other businesses, were given layoff notices Friday. The Herald has 202 employees.
Other changes, including the wage cut, are planned that will save enough money to retain 34 employees, said Publisher Rufus M. Friday. "Our business is just not recession proof," he said.
Ad revenue has dropped as advertisers adopt a "wait and see" attitude because of the recession, he said.
In addition, the Herald is feeling the pain of losing three large advertisers that each were spending more than $100,000 with the Herald annually. Washington Mutual, Joe's Sports & Outdoors and Circuit City all filed for bankruptcy. At the same time, the cost of newsprint has jumped 20 percent.
Circulation has remained relatively steady, however. It's down 1.5 percent this year after a price increase and a halt to carrier delivery in some outlying areas of the Mid-Columbia, Friday said.
The wage cuts announced Friday include a 2.5 percent reduction for workers making $25,000 to $49,999 and a 5 percent cut for those making over $50,000. The publisher will take a 10 percent pay cut, he said.
Those making less than $25,000 or working part time will not have pay cuts.
In addition, no management performance bonuses will be paid this year. A previously announced yearlong wage freeze for all employees will be extended three months through the end of 2009.
If financial conditions do not improve, the Herald will consider furloughs, or mandatory unpaid leave for employees, later in the year.