Tribune employees await buyout verdicts

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Friday is the last day employees of the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune Publishing media properties can apply for buyouts under a voluntary staff reduction plan.

But those who opt for the severance packages won’t know for three more weeks whether the company will honor their requests. All were told to expect to hear back by November 12.

A Tribune Publishing spokesman declined to comment Thursday on how many employees had applied for buyouts since the plan was announced October 5.

Offered to an estimated 7,000 non-union employees, the buyouts would give them up to one year’s pay depending on their length of employment with the company.

One source said response to the plan has been strong at the Los Angeles Times, where morale has plunged since reports of massive layoffs surfaced. Discontent with the Chicago-based parent company was compounded by the firing of Austin Beutner as publisher and CEO of the L.A. Times and San Diego Union-Tribune on September 8.

If Tribune Publishing does not achieve its financial objectives through voluntary buyouts alone, the next step could be “additional involuntary reductions,” according to the company.