The Los Angeles Times newsroom will receive a 20% cut in pay and hours over the next three months, as the paper looks to save $2 million.
The paper has seen advertising virtually dry up amid the pandemic, and had previously given furloughs and pay cuts to some non-union workers on the business side.
The L.A. Times Guild, which represents newsroom employees, issued a statement saying that the company had agreed not lay anyone else off for the remainder of the quarter.
“We are thankful that management accepted our proposal to avert layoffs, but this is a painful cut,” the statement read. “Like the vast majority of newsrooms across the country, The Times has lost significant revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite historic demand for our journalism.”
The Guild described the pay reduction as a “work sharing” program, whereby employees will work 20% fewer hours between May 10 and Aug. 1. According to the Guild, the agreement averted more than 80 layoffs.
“Workers maintain health and retirement benefits and are allowed to collect prorated unemployment benefits to offset lost wages,” the statement said. “When the downturn ends, hours are restored.”
Newspapers across the country have instituted layoffs and furloughs since the pandemic began, and some a handful of outlets have shuttered entirely.
At Gannett — which publishes USA Today and many local papers — most of the 24,000 employees were ordered to take five days off per month, without pay, in April, May and June.
Chris Argentieri, president and COO of the Los Angeles Times, said in a statement that the company is “pleased to have reached an agreement with the Guild.” He thanked the union leadership “along with the workforce across our company for their collaboration and consideration as we meet the challenges of this crisis.”