News Cycle

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Tribune Lawyer Tells Judge the Chain Expects "A Number of Layoffs"

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There are dark clouds within the Tribune company once again as a lawyer representing the giant newspaper chain told a Delaware bankruptcy judge today that he expects “a number of layoffs” in the future. The judge is expected to approve the Tribune Co.’s request to implement a new severance plan for nonunion employees.

Randall Chase of The Associated Press wrote today:

Tribune attorneys said at a hearing Tuesday that they will submit a modified order for Judge Kevin Carey to sign that would provide for notice to the creditors committee and the U.S. trustee in the case before any payments are made to officers or other insiders.

“We don’t intend to give them more than what the market bears at this time,” Tribune attorney Kevin Lantry assured the judge.

Lantry said the company anticipates “a number of layoffs” this year, but he did not provide a figure, or details on how much money the severance program might involve.

“I hate to, in a public forum, articulate anticipated layoffs,” explained Lantry, who said after the hearing that the situation is fluid and that the company’s current projections could very well change.

Carey signaled that he was willing to authorize the new severance plan, as long as it included proper notice regarding payments to insiders.

“What you’re asking for is a prospective blanket approval of such payments,” he told Lantry. “It seems to me it’s got to be conditioned on some process that lets others know what the debtor is doing.”

Tribune is my former employer and it currently employs about 14,000 full-time workers and 2,450 part-timers. It owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The (Baltimore) Sun, The Hartford Courant and other dailies, as well as 23 television stations. It sought bankruptcy protection in December because of dwindling advertising revenues and a debt load of $13 billion.

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Written by newscycle

February 3, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Tribune Co.

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