More Job Cuts at The Charlotte Observer

It looks like there will be more job cuts soon at The Charlotte Observer. The paper, which is owned by McClatchy, which has an absolute mountain of debt, went through a round of cuts a couple months ago. That first round was limited to bureaus, features, and sports. We hear this round will hit a wider group. Staffers had been expecting another round, but this comes much sooner than anyone anticipated. Buyout offers will go out sometime in the next couple of weeks to a select group of people. No word right now as to how many people will get buyout offers. Also no word on how many buyouts the paper wants before it has to resort to layoffs. This comes on top of a McClatchy-wide year-long salary freeze. Ann Caulkins's memo on the salary freeze after the jump:


To All Observer Employees:

The Charlotte Observer continues to manage through an economic downturn that is having an unprecedented negative effect on revenues, and, therefore, our financial health. While we have taken many steps to reorganize and streamline operations to respond to changing business models and these economic challenges, we need to do more to control expenses.

As a necessary part of that effort, we are implementing an across-the-board, one-year wage freeze effective September 1, 2008.  This means that if you are scheduled to receive a merit or salary review between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009, your review for a raise will occur one year later than scheduled.  For example, if your next salary review date is March 2, 2009, the salary review will be postponed until March 1, 2010.  You will, however, receive regularly scheduled performance reviews during this period.

This freeze is being instituted across all of McClatchy, including at corporate and McClatchy Interactive.  Employees for whom salary reviews are pending or whose scheduled salary review dates fall before the September 1, 2008 effective date, remain eligible for their reviews.  The freeze doesn't affect salary increases related to promotions or minimum wage adjustments.

We have avoided taking this step as long as possible.  We know this freeze comes at a time when the economy is putting stress on your personal expenses and when you are working hard to adapt to our changing business model.  We are grateful for all you do to keep The Observer a strong and vibrant institution for our region as we manage through this very difficult period.  The communities we serve are counting on us.  We are confident that all of the efforts and cost control measures being made will result in a far more stable and financially healthy company in the future.

Please contact your division chief or Olivia La Melle in Human Resources if you have any questions.


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