The company’s full-time newsroom employees are eligible for the buyout and must apply by June 9. Employees with less than three years at the company would receive eight weeks of base pay, and those with more will receive 12 weeks of base pay plus one week for every additional year of employment.
The last day of work would be June 18. The company reserves the right to accept or deny applications.
Guilds representing Tribune employees will likely try to negotiate terms for their members.
Alden and Tribune Publishing representatives did not respond to a request for comment. As of late December, Tribune Publishing had about 2,865 full-time and part-time employees, including 896 newsroom staffers.
The cuts were expected. Alden is known for slashing staff count at newsrooms it acquires, and journalists at the Chicago-based company lobbied for local ownership and fought against the deal. Shareholders approved the deal Friday, at $17.25 per share.
Alden’s acquisition closed Monday. By Tuesday, the Chicago-based company’s CEO was out, replaced by Alden president Heath Freeman. Regulatory filings also revealed Tuesday that Alden is borrowing $278 million to help finance the acquisition, adding debt service and pressure to cut costs further.
News regarding the financing heightened journalists’ concerns about cuts. The Chicago Tribune’s newsroom has already undergone multiple rounds of buyouts and leadership changes since Alden became the largest shareholder in late 2019.
Its most recent round of buyouts was offered in December, and those employees’ last day was Jan. 15. The paper lost veteran reporters who had been there for decades, including Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin, Cubs beat reporter Mark Gonzales and restaurant critic Phil Vettel.
In December, the union representing newsroom employees said 33 of its members had left through buyouts or attrition since September 2019. At the time, about 160 union-represented newsroom staff remained. By last month, that number had dropped to 114.