OAKLAND, Calif. -- Employees at the beleaguered Tribune newspaper in Oakland have agreed to accept an 11 percent cut in wages that the publisher said was necessary to keep the newspaper from closing.
A tentative agreement, reached about 4:45 a.m. Saturday and announced yesterday afternoon, would reduce wages for union and non-union workers earning more than $25,000 a year. The pact, which has been ratified by one union but is also subject to approval of five others representing Tribune employees, would affect an estimated 590 of the Tribune's 639 employees.
Under the agreement, any new employees in entry-level positions would be hired at wages 20 percent below current scale for new hires.
bTC The accord, which expires Dec. 31, "gives this newspaper new life and new hope for the future," said Robert C. Maynard, editor and publisher. He praised the unions' spirit of cooperation and "very clear sense of commitment" to keeping the struggling paper alive.
Mr. Maynard said that the concessions were expected to save $1.3 million to $1.5 million in 1991. Top weekly scale for experienced reporters, photographers and editors will drop by $77 to $623.
In return, employees, whose wages will be reduced beginning with the Jan. 23 payroll, negotiated the right to a flexible work schedule that could reduce their work weeks by three hours, or about 9 percent.
The company also agreed to put a union representative on its board of directors and to institute a profit-sharing plan for employees, should the newspaper ever get back into the black.
Mr. Maynard acknowledged that the troubled economy will make rebuilding circulation and advertising revenues difficult.