By: Mark Fitzgerald
These days, when newspaper managers come around to drop unexpected envelopes on employee desks, the first reaction is dread. But in late September, all 600 full-time employees at the family-owned Daily Herald in northwest suburban Chicago discovered a pleasant surprise in those envelopes: a check for $250. Some 300 part-time employees received checks of $125 each.
It was only a few years ago that the Herald suspended contributions to worker 401(k) plans for a while, and told employees to take a half-day off every two weeks, which reduced everyone’s wages by 5%. But the paper has made a big turnaround this year and wanted to reward employees for their sacrifices. “I was pretty stunned,” said staff writer Joel Reese.