McClatchy, the struggling newspaper chain that made an ill-fated purchase of Knight Ridder in 2006, has just sent out a memo announcing that it is freezing employee wages across the entire company for the next year. The message that is increasingly going out to newspaper employees: accept wage freezes (or cuts), buyouts, and layoffs, or face total extinction. The full McClatchy memo is after the jump:
DATE: August 14, 2008 TO: All Employees SUBJECT: Wage Freeze *********** continues to manage through an economic downturn that is having an unprecedented negative effect on revenues, and, therefore, our financial health. While we have taken many steps to reorganize and streamline operations to respond to changing business models and these economic challenges, we need to do more to control expenses. As an important part of that effort, we are implementing an across-the-board, one-year wage freeze effective Sept. 1, 2008.* This means that if you are scheduled to receive a merit or salary review between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009, your review will occur one year later than scheduled. For example, if your next salary review date is March 1, 2009, the salary review will be postponed until March 1, 2010. You will, however, receive regularly scheduled performance reviews during this period. This freeze is being instituted across all of McClatchy, including at corporate and McClatchy Interactive. Employees for whom salary reviews are pending or whose scheduled salary review dates fall before the September 1, 2008 effective date remain eligible for their reviews. The freeze doesn't affect salary increases related to promotions or minimum wage adjustments. We have avoided taking this step as long as possible. We know this freeze comes at a time when the economy is putting stress on your personal expenses and when you are working hard to adapt to our changing business model. We greatly appreciate all that you do for **********, and we hope we can continue to count on you as we manage through this very difficult period. We are confident that all of the efforts and cost control measures being made will result in a far more stable and financially healthy company in the future.