Friday, August 29, 2008

Union Tribune Workers are Offered Buyouts


11:19 a.m. August 28, 2008

SAN DIEGO – The Union-Tribune Publishing Co., which publishes The San Diego Union-Tribune, announced Thursday that it was offering buyouts to its non-union employees.

From the archives
* July 25, 2008: Sale of
U-T explored by Copley Press

Its parent company, The Copley Press, said in late July that it was exploring strategic options for the company, including a possible sale.

The voluntary separation package provides two weeks of base pay for every year of continuous employment, up to one year's pay. It is available only to employees with more than five years of service.

The company announced the belt-tightening move in a news release and in internal e-mails and meetings with employees.

“We continue to be the leading local media resource in San Diego County,” Drew Schlosberg, the company's community and public relations manager, said in a statement. “But the economic situation continues to be difficult. Like other media and newspaper companies, we must adjust our cost structure to match our revenue.

“Despite the challenges we face, we will continue to explore, create and offer products and services to grow audience and revenue.”

The company has been publishing newspapers in San Diego since 1868 and owned by the Copley family for 80 years.

It will be third round of buyouts for the company in just over a year and a half.

The company offered buyouts in December 2006 to employees who had been with the company for 30 years or more. Earlier this year, it reduced its work force by 10 percent through a buyout and layoffs. It currently has about 1,000 full-time employees.

The Copley Press also sold its other newspapers and the Copley News Service.

Despite declines in newspaper circulation that mirror those of other regional papers, the Union-Tribune still has the largest reach of any local media company, its products reaching more than 59 percent of San Diego County residents each week.

The Union-Tribune has an audited daily circulation of more than 285,000 (not 270,000, as was reported previously) and Sunday circulation of almost 364,000. Its daily circulation in the late week – Wednesday through Saturday – averages more than 314,000. Its Web site,, attracts 3.6 million unique users in a typical month.

The company also publishes Enlace, the county's largest weekly Spanish-language news publication; Today's Local News, a free community paper distributed in the North County; and the Borrego Sun, a biweekly newspaper based in Borrego Springs.

The Union-Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize two years ago for exposing the bribes paid to former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who was convicted and sent to federal prison. The Tribune, the afternoon paper that was merged with the San Diego Union in 1992, had previously won two Pulitzers.



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