NYTCO Cuts 100 Jobs, Salaries By 5%

New York Times building Over the last year, the New York Times Co. has made it a point of pride to avoid the sort of big public job cuts that have decimated companies like McClatchy, Gannett, Tribune and MediaNews. That changed this week.

The company announced it was cutting 100 positions -- many of them through layoffs, including 50 positions at The Boston Globe. Executives warned that another 60-80 jobs could be cut from The New York Times' newsroom in the near future. Finally, the company is reducing salaries 5% among the remaining workforce. (NYTCO did cut 100 positions in 2008, just not all at once.)

At the beginning of 2009, NYTCO employed 9,346 people, so the loss of 100 positions is a small fraction of the full-time staff, equal to a little over 1% of the total. Still, the long-term decline is more noticeable. Since 2000, when the company employed 13,800 people, it has shed about 4,550 positions, or about 33% of the total. This includes 500 positions quietly cut in January of this year with the closing of "City & Suburban."

Remaining employees at the New York Times Media Group, The Boston Globe, Boston.com and the corporate offices in New York will be reduced by 5% beginning in April. In return, the employees are being given 10 days of unpaid leave.

At the About Group and a number of smaller newspaper properties, employees will take a 2.5% reduction in salary, with five days of unpaid leave. The company's management is also negotiating with the Newspaper Guild to secure the participation of unionized employees in the salary rollback.

In essence, NYTCO is resorting to unpaid furloughs, following in the steps of other big publishers. Last week, Advance Publications, publisher of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Star-Ledger of Newark, NJ, and the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, said its employees would be asked to take 10 days of unpaid leave.

Also last week, Gannett Co. announced another round of unpaid furloughs in the second quarter of 2009. Most Gannett employees will be asked to take a week of unpaid leave by the end of June. This will be the second quarter, where Gannett has put employees on unpaid furloughs. In January, Gannett said it will require thousands of employees to take a week off without pay in the first quarter.

In February, Media General said all employees have to take 10 days of unpaid leave in 2009, including four by the end of March, and The Financial Times of London said it would ask employees to take three-day weekends without pay on the extra day. The trend began last December, when The Seattle Times asked approximately 500 of its non-unionized employees to take a week's unpaid leave.

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