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Buyouts offered to workers at LA Times printing facility

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Employees at the Los Angeles Times printing facility were offered buyouts, union officials confirmed to KPCC on Tuesday.

Ronnie Pineda, president of the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 140-N, said the buyouts could impact workers at the facility from printing press operators to color specialists who make sure the colors appear correctly in the newspaper.

It is unclear exactly how many workers qualify for the buyout. Edward Padgett, the union's recording secretary, estimated 73 people would qualify in the pressroom. He said the buyout offers up to 40 weeks of pay, with one week of pay per year of service.

Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan said the company doesn't comment on speculation and she didn't respond to a question about possible impact on other newsroom employees.

The cuts come as the Tribune Co., parent company of the L.A. Times, has been closely examining its budget to become more efficient. Tribune Co. chief executive Peter Liguori said at a Tribune staff meeting he is "not walking around with a specific number in mind."

Tribune Co. reported a consolidated operating profit of $90 million in the second quarter compared to $125 million in the same period a year earlier, due to declining sales.

Pineda said this is the second buyout affecting L.A. Times printing facility employees in the last three years. He said the Times has been whittling away at its printing facilities staff. In 2000, there were more than 700 pressmen and women at three different print facilities, Pineda said. He estimates that number is now 125 people, with only one printing facility open.

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