The Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley in a photo from the "About Us" page of the newspaper's website.
The Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley in a photo from the “About Us” page of the newspaper’s website.

The parent company of the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and other papers across the country announced an employee-buyout plan Monday as a way to cut costs at the media conglomerate that recently overhauled the management of its Southern California papers.

Tribune Publishing Co. CEO Jack Griffin announced the plan in a memo distributed to employees, saying the “Voluntary Separation Program” will allow employees to “make decisions about their own personal and professional situations at a time when the company must continue to execute on its strategic plan, which includes reducing costs.”

“The senior management team and I recognize that each employee makes important contributions to our company,” Griffin wrote. “At the same time, in the challenging revenue environment that all publishing companies face, it is critical that we make hard decisions and take the necessary steps that continue to position Tribune Publishing Company for success over the long term.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, employees who take the deal would receive one week of base pay for every year of employment up to 10 years, two weeks of pay for 11 to 20 years of service and three weeks for years 21 and up, with the buyout capped at one year’s pay.

Employees must apply for the buyout by Oct. 23.

The buyout offer comes one month after former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner was fired as publisher/CEO of the California News Group, which includes The Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.

He was replaced by Tim Ryan, formerly the publisher of the Baltimore Sun, prompting calls by Southland business and community leaders for local leadership to be restored at The Times.

Tribune Publishing Co. owns 11 major daily newspapers across the country and has about 7,000 employees.

The buyout also includes an incentive for older staffers, with the company announcing it plans to end its retiree medical benefits program for active employees on Dec. 31. Employees who take the buyout plan and leave the company prior to Dec. 31 will continue to receive the retiree benefits.

— City News Service