Source: 5% Across the Board Pay Cut for All Register Employees [UPDATED]


It 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.

“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.”

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