‘Chicago Tribune’ Extending Cuts Beyond Newsroom

By: E&P Staff

Chicago Tribune interim Publisher Bob Gremillion has told employees that the recently announced cuts in newsroom staff will be extended “elsewhere” at the paper.

“We’ve already announced newsroom staff reductions, but our dire economic situation requires us to implement further cuts elsewhere in the company,” he said in a memo Friday. “We’ve not yet determined the total scope of the reductions, but they will be involuntary.”

Gremillion said those whose jobs are targeted for elimination will be notified by the end of August.

The exit package includes a payout of one week’s pay for each consecutive period of six months of service, with a minimum of six weeks and maximum of 52 weeks, Gremillion said.

The memo was first reported by the Los Angeles-based blog “Tell Zell.”

The full text of the memo follows:

From: Gremillion, Bob
Sent: Fri 7/25/2008 1:06 PM
Subject: Staff Reductions

To Chicago Tribune Media Group staff —

I have been working with you for the better part of a month now, learning more about the CTMG and all the ways our businesses serve our customers and the community. The most important part of my job here now is making sure we are well-positioned for the future. A key part of that is the redesign of the Blue paper, and we are making great progress and remain on schedule to launch it by the end of September.

But our more difficult task involves responding to the unprecedented declines in revenue you heard Sam and Randy discuss on Tuesday. As a result, we are carefully examining our budgets, reviewing every expense item. I’ve been impressed by the discipline our departments already exercise. We’ve already announced newsroom staff reductions, but our dire economic situation requires us to implement further cuts elsewhere in the company. We’ve not yet determined the total scope of the reductions, but they will be involuntary.

Your department heads, working together and with me, are examining current staffing levels to determine what functions can be reduced, suspended, or eliminated. Affected employees will be notified by the end of August and would be eligible for benefits similar to those offered in the past:

An allocation will be made to affected employees’ cash balance account equal to one week’s pay for each consecutive period of six months of service, with a minimum of six weeks and maximum of 52 weeks. There will be a range of payout options from a lump sum to annuity payments.

Benefits continuation will be provided based on 1 week for each consecutive period of six months of completed service, with a minimum of 3 months and maximum of 52 weeks.

Outplacement assistance will be available.

This is undoubtedly the most challenging time in Tribune history. We must make painful decisions, and I deeply regret the impact this will have on those who will be leaving us. Ultimately, I want you to know that I believe in the great potential CTMG and Tribune Company have for the future, and I appreciate your support through this transition.

Bob

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