The Baltimore Sun Co. yesterday announced a voluntary buyout package that could apply to about 1,200 of the publishing company's 2,000 full-time employees.
In an effort to reduce its work force, the company offered to pay eligible workers up to 15 months of their current salary, depending on seniority, and to pay for the majority of their health benefits for a certain period if they choose to resign by Jan. 7.
In a notice to employees, publisher Michael J. Davies said that the offer was a response to the recession and the declines in advertising revenues in the past two years. "We have seriously considered layoffs as a means of reducing the staff," Mr. Davies said in the notice. "However, we have decided first to pursue a path that, while more expensive, is more humane and less traumatic. . . .
"While we hope this program will help us achieve the necessary downsizing, layoffs or other measures may still be necessary at a later date," Mr. Davies concluded.
The buyout offer has been formally extended to all of the company's 400 non-union employees. It will not be available to vTC unionized production or transportation workers, or to employees hired less than six months before the Jan. 7 cutoff date. The company is negotiating with its biggest union, the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, in order to be able to offer the buyout to Guild members.