UPDATED WITH CONFIRMATION, DETAILS FROM REGISTER REPORT...
will be was announced today that all Orange County Register employees will be subjected to a 5 percent pay cut, an insider tells the Weekly. effective July 13.
This comes on top of mandatory employee furloughs--or unpaid, one-week vacations--being required every quarter. Translated into wages, that action represented a 10 percent decrease in wages.
At last check, "Orange County's news source" was mum about pay cuts.
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"Orange County's news source" confirmed the cuts were being made on their business blog Monday evening.
Commenters to the original version of this post said the 5 percent cuts are being made across the board at Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc., which in addition to the Santa Ana-based Register owns 32 other daily newspapers across the country, more than 70 weekly newspapers, magazines and other specialty publications and seven broadcast stations.
The Register piece reports Freedom is laboring under $700 million in debt, which it took on in 2004 to pay members of the family-owned company who wanted to cash in their shares, while being battered by a weak economy, declines in advertising and circulation and competition from online media sources. Besides the cuts in wages and forced furloughs, Freedom has fought back with layoffs, voluntary severance and an end to company matching to employee 401-K plans.
The Register also quoted from a memo issued by Burl Osborne, Freedom's incoming interim CEO, who explained, "We felt that taking this action provided the best opportunity to maintain an organization that will meet the needs of our advertisers, readers and viewers. Equally important, it will help us deliver on our financial commitments in 2009 and set us up for a stronger 2010."
He was upbeat about Freedom and the Register bouncing back: "I do believe there is a future for us. The trick is to survive until we get to the other side of this very deep river we have to cross."