Friday, February 13, 2009

Memo from Ron Redfern

February 10, 2009
TO: All PEC Employees
FROM: Ron Redfern

Dear Colleagues:

By now, I hope all of you have read Robert Decherd’s letter of January 30th to all A. H. Belo employees. If you have not, you can access it on the A. H. Belo intranet site or obtain a copy from Human Resources.

In the letter, Robert describes how the present economic climate, coupled with the significant challenges that the newspaper industry was facing even before the recent economic downturns, have made this an especially difficult time for our newspaper company, as well as newspaper companies across the country.

We continue to be very uncertain about what will happen with our economy in this coming year. Consequently, we are anticipating further advertising revenue declines for 2009 from 2008, and in fact, our January results bear this out. Because advertising revenues account for approximately 80% of our company’s revenue, we need to implement the expense-reduction measures outlined in Robert’s letter.

Two things were not ready for communication at the time of Robert’s letter: the timing of the layoffs and the severance package.

As to timing, we anticipate completing the layoffs by the end of April. We are currently in the process of determining the extent of the layoffs and will notify impacted employees as soon as possible. If for some reason the layoffs will extend beyond April, you will be advised.

A. H. Belo has adopted a severance plan that governs the amount of severance to be paid to employees who terminate employment with an A. H. Belo company due to a reduction in force.
  • Generally, employees who are terminated due to the reduction in force and who sign the separation-and-release agreement, will receive a lump-sum severance payment of one and one-quarter (1.25) weeks of current base pay for each year of employment. The maximum severance allowed is 10 weeks. The minimum severance payment for eligible employees will be two weeks. Partial years of service will be used for purposes of calculating the severance payment.

  • The severance payment will be made once the separation-and-release agreement has been signed and, when applicable, the revocation period has expired.

  • Outplacement services to assist employees in looking for their next employment opportunity are being provided as part of the offer.
Thanks to each of you for your continued support and efforts on behalf of The Press-Enterprise. Our mission as an organization is an important one for all of the communities we serve in the region. It is unfortunate that we must take these measures to sustain that mission, but they are truly necessary. I appreciate your cooperation during these difficult and challenging times.

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