The Tribune Co., whose 10 newspapers include the Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and Los Angeles Times, yesterday announced a salary freeze for 2009. It affects all non-union employees (for the small percentage of union employees, "the issue will be addressed in collective bargaining"). Tribune chief administrative officer Gerry Spector writes in his email that he hopes the change will "allow us to avert more drastic action in the future."
Here's the email:
From: Tribune Communications [mailto:TribuneCommunications@Tribune.com]
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 12:59 PM
Subject: Message from Gerry Spector/2009 Salary Freeze
As you know, this year is off to a difficult start--not only for us, but for our peers in the media industry and for much of the business world as well. The advertising environment is very difficult. The economy is, at best, challenging. Across the country, businesses are cutting jobs, furloughing employees and freezing pay. Some of our major advertising clients, like General Motors, have laid off thousands of employees; others, like Circuit City, have been forced to liquidate assets and go out of business. Obviously, developments like these put significant downward pressure on our revenue.
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As a company, we're fighting back like never before--developing new products, operating extremely efficiently, and re-examining everything we do with an eye toward maximizing our cash flow. However, given current trends and the likelihood that it will take some time for the economy to recover, we have to do even more. For that reason, we've decided to implement a salary freeze for non-union employees in 2009. For those employees represented by a union, the issue will be addressed in collective bargaining.
I know this is difficult and I appreciate your understanding. Compensation is our largest expense and a salary freeze enables us to share the sacrifice. Hopefully, freezing salaries now will allow us to avert more drastic action in the future.
Thank you again for all your efforts.