Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tribune Co. to Reduce Severance Payouts

Bankruptcy judge approves cutting benefit roughly in half

A bankruptcy judge in Delaware Tuesday approved reduced severance terms for Tribune Co. employees who lose their jobs as the Chicago-based media conglomerate restructures to cope with shrinking ad revenue.

The policy essentially halves the payout to workers who are fired without cause. They will receive two weeks' pay for their first year of service and an additional week's pay for every subsequent year. Employees who left in 2008 received a week's pay for every six months on the job.

Tribune Co.'s largest paper, the Los Angeles Times, last week said it would eliminate 300 more jobs, and the company hasn't ruled out new cuts at other media holdings, including the Chicago Tribune.

Chandler Bigelow III, Tribune Co.'s senior vice president and chief financial officer, said in a Jan. 13 court filing that "it is prudent to consider further workforce reductions if current economic conditions persist."

Companies reorganizing typically seek court approval for major changes to compensation, including severance and incentives for executives.
-- Chicago Tribune
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