Is Half a Million Enough for Ailing Papers’ CEO?

The Sacramento Unit of the California Media Workers Guild has published (BeeGuildNow.org, 2/16/09) an open letter to McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt describing how,

in quick succession, our salaries and our pensions have been frozen. The company match has been eliminated from our 401K plans. Weâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ve gone through two rounds of buyouts. Our ranks are thinner. But that is only the beginning. An unknown number of us will be sent out the door in the coming weeks, laid off during the worst economic climate in 80 years.

Those of us who remain will work harder, but we will work for less. The company has told the Guild we all will be furloughed this year, and beyond that, we will be asked to take additional voluntary pay cuts. If not, more of us may be terminated.

As the workers are “just gutting it out, hoping to survive,” they ask one thing of Pruitt: “Work harder for less.” Their request of the big boss to “reduce your full compensation this year to $500,000” sounds quite reasonable, considering that his “most recent publicly released annual compensation package is $4.6 million, of which $1.1 million is listed as base salary.” Will Pruitt honor their logical assertion that “a voluntary reduction on your part would save jobs. Simple as that”? A look at Pruitt’s CEO peers’ behavior gives little hope; listen to the FAIR radio show CounterSpin: “Bob McChesney on Tribune Bankruptcy” (12/12/08).