Tribune Publishing and The Chicago Tribune Guild, the union representing its newsroom employees, have reached a tentative agreement to furlough 160 editorial staffers for one week in the months of May, June and July, while postponing discussions of longer-term furloughs until at least the end of July.
The union tweeted the terms of the tentative agreement to staffers on Tuesday, and said it “fends off permanent pay reductions and assures us that the company will not try further cuts until at least the end of July.”
The furloughs apply to the unionized employees with an annual base pay of $40,000 or higher. Staffers facing a furlough also have the option of taking a voluntary buyout package.
Initially, management had been pushing for three-month furloughs of journalists in sports and features. “We stood firm against those outrageous and possibly illegal bullying tactics,” the Tribune Guild said.
It is at least the third round of cuts for the company that owns the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Hartford Courant, the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel and other papers. The company on April 21 said it was requiring nonunion employees making between $40,000 and $67,000 a year to take three weeks of furloughs in May, June and July, and said it would negotiate separately with its unionized papers. Earlier in April, CEO Terry Jimenez had ordered pay cuts of between 2 percent and 10 percent for higher-salaried employees, but had initially spared the lower-paid employees.
The union said the company had agreed to make no further pay cuts or reduce the workforce through the end of July.