Times Union Offers Employee Buyouts

Times Union - Albany NYALBANY NY - The Albany Times Union newspaper announced in May that it would be offering voluntary buyout packages to its employees. These efforts were an attempt to trim 30 jobs this summer as the paper seeks to reduce operating costs.

Buyout packages were available to staff in every department and aimed to allow employees a graceful transition to a new career change while avoiding the need for layoffs, according to Times Union Publisher Mark Aldam.

In the face of economic downturn, many other local media companies are also taking steps to cut costs. The Daily Gazette, WXXA-TV, WTEN, WMHT and WAMC each laid off several workers so far this year.

Is the Internet to blame? The Times Union credits consumers' rising tendency toward online news sites and the lack of sufficient advertising revenue for much of the economic troubles facing traditional media outlets. Though the popular Albany newspaper also has a well-established online presence and reader base, online ad revenue has not proven as lucrative as print advertising.

The Times Union offered a summary of the generous buyout package:

"Among other benefits, the buyout package offered employees one to three years of health insurance, based on service and minus their co-pay, and two weeks of pay for each year of employment with the company, up to a year's salary.

Employees with at least 20 years of service were eligible for an additional lump-sum payment of $11,000, while those with 30 years of experience were offered $22,000 and those with more than 40 years were offered $33,000."

So far, 25 employees have opted for the voluntary buyout program. The Times Union received 30 applications in total, but the other five were denied because their positions would need replacements.

At this time, the paper has no plans to cut any more jobs or sacrifice any of their current news coverage.

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