By: Mark Fitzgerald

Times Mirror Purchase Prompted Benefits Review

CHICAGO – Effective next January, the Tribune Co. is opening
its health insurance and welfare benefits to both the same-sex
and the unmarried heterosexual domestic partners of employees in
all its business units, including its daily newspapers.

The change comes about a year after Chicago-based Tribune
– which had not offered domestic-partner benefits despite
years of lobbying by gay journalists and other employees –
bought Times Mirror Co., which offered the benefits.

At the time of the merger, Tribune vowed to keep all benefits in
place for at least a year, and a corporate team began to examine
new welfare packages. “This gave us the chance for an orderly and
thoughtful process,” company spokesman John Lyday said.

To be eligible, employees must declare they have been in an
“exclusive, committed relationship of at least 12 months that is
expected to last indefinitely,” Lyday said. About 22,000
employees will be covered by the new benefits.

“It’s gratifying to know that our education efforts and the
lobbying conducted by gay and nongay employees has resulted in
tangible success,” said Karen Bailis, a National Lesbian and Gay
Journalists Association (NLGJA) board member who is an assistant
news editor at Melville, N.Y.-based Newsday, which is a
former Times Mirror paper.

From 1997 to 2000, the number of news organizations offering
domestic-partner benefits almost tripled, to 73 from 26,
according to an NLGJA study.

Mark Fitzgerald ( is editor at large for E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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