Tribune Publishing Company, the owner of Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida's Sun-Sentinel, and several other newspapers, has seen its full-year forecast revised lower by analysts who believe the publisher is headed for tough times in 2020 amid pandemic and recession. This has forced Tribune Publishing CEO Terry Jimenez to furlough employees and cut salaries as a move to protect shareholders.
Vice News released an internal Slack conversation of more than 100 Tribune Publishing employees detailing how they overwhelmingly believe the CEO is putting shareholders' interests over workers. The conversation is absolutely heartbreaking and provides insight into the economic hardships that many Americans are now facing as the economy collapses. Employees have pleaded with the CEO to reconsider the cuts, but his response to them has been silent.
Tribune Publishing is backed by venture capital firm Alden Global Capital, which has a track record of stripping newspapers for cost-cutting measures. The CEO has already completed several rounds of furloughs:
"Earlier this year, the company offered buyouts to all employees who'd been working there eight years or more. More recently, facing the same pressure every media company is facing, Tribune Publishing has been instituting rolling cuts and furloughs as a result of financial stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On April 9, the company announced permanent pay cuts of 2 to 10 percent for all non-union employees making more than $67,000 a year. CEO Terry Jimenez generously said he would forgo his salary—$575,000, a year per an SEC filing—for two weeks.
"On April 21, the company announced new three-week furloughs for employees making as little as $40,000 a year. Some of the Tribune newspapers are unionized; as a result, the company must negotiate with the NewsGuild in order to institute the furloughs. The Morning Call, the Hartford Courant, the Tidewater Guild (comprising three Virginia newspapers), the Chesapeake Guild (comprising the Capital Gazette and other suburban newspapers), and the company's shared print group, called Design and Production Studio (DPS) are bargaining together. As they do so, staffers are putting pressure on their overlords by making them look like the assholes they are," Vice reported.
Here are the internal conversations among employees on Slack that detail how corporate greed and the CEO's protection of shareholders over employees will ruin lives.
"I can't afford three weeks without pay," wrote one staffer in an internal company-wide Slack channel with more than 2000 people in it.
"My husband was laid off and we have a daughter in college," another wrote.
"Tribune gives $9 million on shareholder dividends, and then tells employees it's critical that they take pay cuts and furloughs that will save them just $556,979," another staffer wrote. "The person who made these decisions at Tribune hasn't mastered basic math."
They don’t care. @TribPub just cares about shareholders. The sooner you realize the better (for you). PS: They also don’t care about journalism.— Wally Trimble (@wallytrimble) April 30, 2020