Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tribune Co. seeks approval for modified bonus plan

Chicago Tribune parent reports better results
By Michael Oneal

Tribune staff reporter
5:39 PM CST, January 20, 2010

Tribune Co. on Wednesday said it had generated a much better-than-expected $500 million in cash flow during 2009 and sought to make it easier for a bankruptcy judge to bless $45.6 million in bonuses tied to the results for 720 managers at the company.

In July, Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware for permission to pay from $21.5 to around $67 million in bonuses through three separate performance-based plans.

The biggest was a continuation of Tribune Co.'s normal incentive bonus plan for both top and middle managers. The other two would reward a group of around 20 top managers for either navigating the bankruptcy process or "transforming" their business units.

A group of company unions objected to the request at a September court hearing, calling the bonuses top-heavy and too easy to earn. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey has yet to rule as he prepares a formal opinion on the matter. Tribune Co. had originally requested that Carey rule on all three plans together. But on Wednesday, the company said it would be willing to have the court "bifurcate" its ruling so that the larger group of more than 700 managers could be rewarded in February for their 2009 performance.

Any payout would be based on how much cash flow the company generated relative to plan in 2009. The maximum payout would require a result 200 percent more than originally predicted.

In a separate note to employees Wednesday, Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels said that the company generated almost $500 million in cash flow during the year "thanks to a stronger than expected performance by both the Broadcasting and Publishing Groups in the fourth quarter." The results owe much to cost cutting efforts but Michaels noted that lower newsprint costs and a slightly better economy helped.

A spokesman said that level of cash flow exceeded the 200 percent threshold, meaning bonuses for the group of 720 would come in at a maximum of $45.6 million if approved. If the judge also approved the other two plans, they would pay out around $21 million to a much smaller group.
Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune
How about asking the Judge if some of this money can be used to provide severance for the soon to be laid-off 39 pressroom employees? They've made so many sacrifices for this newspaper, working nights, weekends and holidays away from their families for decades: while the bonus recipients celebrated with their children and relatives. 

The Company's unwillingness to pay severance is not an economic matter:  as a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with money: it is PERVERTED POWER and OBVIOUS PUNISHMENT for Organizing our shops.

Ask management why they feel these individuals don't deserve to be treated as fairly as the other production departments. The Union submitted a separation package proposal that many, if not all of you would agree to be fair and more than deserving. The Company apparently has the money to fund our proposal without having to give anything in return, hell, they've already taken everything  and never given anything in return, why should we continue to suffer and management rewarded? SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS TO MANAGEMENT, DEMAND EQUALITY AND FAIRNESS!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

De' Je Vu

Company: ZERO Severance, Union Proposal below. No agreements were reached and the Company wants us to find ways to fund severance. They pointed in the direction of wages, grievances and benefits but refused to give a written counter proposal that would tell us what they want. They want us to find ways to fund severance and again would not tell us exactly what they are seeking in order to provide severance.

The company is not asking others for something in return for severance, so why do they seek anything more than they have already taken?

Your years of service are not being recognized nor is the contribution to the company by working nights, weekends, and holidays. Their position is that you got paid for it.

No agreements were reached and negotiations will continue on February 1st.

Separation proposal 1-18-10

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Apology to Members

I deeply apologize to the members that were offended or upset by my comments that were directed towards(mis)-management. I became very, very angry after months of being lied to while attempting to obtain answers on the members behalf regarding the closing of O.C.

I realize O.C. was rumored to close for some time now, and it eventually would be, but when we ask questions that you want answered, don't you expect to receive an honest answer? So do I! I wasn't upset so much that they were lying to Keith's and my faces, but that ALL of you were being lied to once again.

I DETEST liars and that is the reason I had to say what I said. I have absolutely no regrets for what I said because that is how I honestly feel. I spoke the truth many of you would echo if you could do so without repercussion. It is those of you that I represented in my comments.

I want everyone to know that those words were from Ronnie the Pressman, not Ronnie the President. I have always conducted myself in a professional manner when addressing the company on behalf of the membership from the very beginning, management has shown no interest in reciprocating by lying blatantly to its employees.

This behavior should not be easily dismissed and a demand for honesty should be imposed upon management by each and every employee. Just because you know they lie doesn't mean its O.K. DEMAND TRUTH and HONESTY from the Company and require them to also treat their employees in a professional and ethical manner. In other words, STOP LYING!

I assure the members that I will show the restraint necessary to represent the membership in a professional manner and give my word that I will refrain from unleashing my inner thoughts upon management again in the future.................if there is one!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Business or Bullshit!

We all know that the newspaper industry has suffered beyond measure, leaving great reporters to truck drivers, and everyone in between in its wake of destruction. We have all suffered immeasurable casualties of our own here at the L.A. Times, sadly at the hands of a bunch of Tribune LIARS AND CROOKS!

These same SOB's have the balls to call the Union Officers Thugs! Nothing good has ever happened to benefit the employees of the Los Angeles Times under the stewardship of Tribune Corp. RAPE AND PILLAGE has been the M.O. all along.

From Madigan to Zell, all we have witnessed is the downward spiral of a once great newspaper, not as much, in my opinion, due to the economy, as to FUCKING GREED AND MISMANAGEMENT! I am damn tired of the bullshit the company spews in the name of saving costs and creating a newspaper that the consumer will want. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER! The ineptitude of the powers that be have sent even the most loyal L.A. Times readers elsewhere, and I doubt they will come back no matter what redesign they come up with!

The thing that fucking pisses me off the most is that some of these assholes are fucking enjoying what they are doing to the employees in the pressroom. Management doesn't give a shit about what will happen to all of the families and the future they have disrupted, as long as they continue to get their fucking money! How the fuck they sleep at night is beyond me!

What the fuck do they do to deserve a job over the people that actually create the newspaper? All they do is go to meetings all day and try to find new and creative ways to fuck the employees out of their jobs to save money. Why don't they all get off their asses and the asses of their workers and finds ways to earn money for the company instead of laying everyone off to save a buck and their own asses!

Trying to get the Bankruptcy Court to allow them to distribute 22 to 66 Million Dollars in bonuses to incentivize these idiots is a fucking insult to our intelligence and should not be allowed without a fight! Money is not the root of all evil.......the love of money is.

Message to Management, I created this Blog for the pressroom employees, NOT YOU LYING ASSHOLES! So like I've said before, if you don't like what I posted here, then don't fucking come here! I hope you all loose your fucking jobs, health insurance, retirement and homes, you HEARTLESS BASTARDS! I admit, this is unprofessional, but I'm sick and tired of my Brothers and Sisters being fucked over for forming a Union here at the sacred, non-union L.A. Times. Go back to Chicago and take Stumpy with you!!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Los Angeles Times Orange County Facility Scheduled to Close on March 15, 2010

The Union has attempted numerous times to uncover the truth as to what plans the L.A. Times has for the O.C. Facility without any results. Russ Newton, John Walker and Leticia Bugarin have all denied any plans to close Orange County and have went as far as to imply that Ed Padgett and I were perpetuating these rumors with our Blog posts. It is apparent that we were barking up the right tree and this was not a rumor.

It is also no coincidence that this decision took place a day after recall rights for the remaining employees that were laid-off in April'09 expired. We have asked point blank if this was being discussed by management to which the answer was always NO. LIES, LIES and more LIES!

Business is Business but, I warned everyone that this company and its managers cannot be trusted and here is further proof!

Click on the links below to view the documents that were received by the Union.
(Note: Notice 2 contains multiple pages including a list of the effected employees)

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