MEDIA

USA Today Offers Buyouts To Long-Term Employees In Latest Attempt To Slash Costs

03/19/2015 01:39 pm ET | Updated Mar 19, 2015
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USA Today is offering buyouts to veteran employees over the age of 55 with at least 15 years with the company, USA Today publisher Larry Kramer announced in a memo to staff Wednesday, obtained by The Huffington Post.

The offer will be extended to some 90 employees of the company's 600-person staff.

"USA TODAY announced Wednesday that it will offer buyout packages to veteran employees to trim staffing, its latest effort to cut costs and invest more in digital products amid a plan by parent company Gannett to spin off the publishing business as a separate company," Roger Yu, a media business reporter for USA Today, wrote in his post about the company's "Early Retirement Opportunity Program."

Yu reports that those who choose to take the buyout will be given one and a half to two weeks of pay for each year worked (with a limit of 52 weeks) and will be eligible for health care benefits while they're being paid.

The news organization's need to "trim staffing" may not end with buyouts, however. In his memo, Kramer hinted that more cuts may be on the way.

"Regardless of the acceptance level of the Early Retirement Opportunity Program, we cannot rule out other actions that we may need to take in the future because of economic and business conditions," he wrote. "These changes will allow us to invest in innovative products and to grow our digital businesses. We will continue to focus on expanding important new initiatives, transforming our products and services, and keeping our growth plans ambitious.​"

In December, Kramer announced that the company would be shuttering its weekend magazine, USA Weekend, and laying off some 30 staffers in the process. Three months earlier, in September, the company laid off roughly 70 employees after news surfaced that its parent company, Gannett, would be dividing the paper from its digital and broadcasting assets.

Read Kramer's full memo to staff below:

As we come to the end of the first quarter, USA TODAY is seeing strong growth in digital as we continue to innovate and remain focused on quickly seizing the many opportunities presented by new digital tech­nologies. Of course, as we are all aware, we are in a rapidly evolving business where each day brings new challenges.

To remain highly competitive and aggressively keep in front of shifting consumer trends, we need to continue to ensure that our resources are best applied across the organization. While we’ve accomplished much already to transition the business, more remains to be done and we need to continue to ensure that staffing meets our current needs.

As a result, we are offering long-term USA TODAY employees (those who are age 55 or older with at least 15 years of service) across various departments our Early Retirement Opportunity Program. These employees have helped build USA TODAY into the icon it is and their efforts will always be a part of this brand.

Regardless of the acceptance level of the Early Retirement Opportunity Program, we cannot rule out other actions that we may need to take in the future because of economic and business conditions.

These changes will allow us to invest in innovative products and to grow our digital businesses. We will continue to focus on expanding important new initiatives, transforming our products and services, and keeping our growth plans ambitious.​

As we have done over the last several years, we will be expanding cooperation among our news operations and the U.S. Community Publishing news organizations. We’ve had outstanding success with our USA TODAY Local Edition project. This has increased the USA TODAY audience by providing expanded national News, Money, Sports and Life content to many local Gannett markets, as well as non-Gannett markets such as the newly announced partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to building a stronger future for USA TODAY.

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