To prevent layoffs on the heels of a sharp decline in advertising revenue, Freedom Communications--the parent company of The Orange County Register--today offered voluntary severance packages to employees, according to sources.
"If not enough people opt out, then there will be layoffs," a veteran of the paper told the Weekly.
The package under consideration includes two weeks of pay for every year of service, plus $50 for every $1,000 of base pay and 26 additional weeks of paid health insurance.
Dozens of employees--perhaps as many as 50 or more--need to accept the package to prevent the company from taking more drastic steps. The company delivered the news through department supervisors. There was no companywide meeting.
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"People were initially shocked, followed by a feeling of, 'Well, I'm not surprised given the downsizing going on in the industry,'" said a Reg employee.
In July, new Freedom Communications CEO Scott Flanders announced that he was re-organizing the company's newspaper divisions to cut costs.
A company spokeswoman did not return a call for comment at the time of this post.
Ironically, the Irvine-based company is willing to push out (much needed) veteran employees while spending millions of dollars a year to launch journalistically questionable spin-offs such as Squeeze OC and OC Post.