Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tribune ESPP/ESOP Issue

Hi Sam,

Thanks for your prompt and clear response. Everything you say is absolutely true regarding what has occurred so far.

To recap: All components of compensation, including retirement and stock plans, for union represented employees are negotiated in collective bargaining. The ESPP participated in by IBEW represented Tribune employees ended in April 2007 right after the sale of the company was announced and the ESPP proceeds were paid out in December. The new ESOP started January 1, 2008. All true.

Where we disagree is as follows: You see these two things as unrelated, while I see them as joined together.

The IBEW negotiated the ESPP as part of our compensation package. There was no negotiation when the ESPP was taken away, thereby reducing my compensation without any input from my union. I feel that if we are not included in the ESOP without having to wait until the next contract negotiation, then we need to reopen negotiations on our current contract to discuss what we will get to replace the ESPP in our current compensation package.

By reopening negotiations now, we can address the ESPP/ESOP issue as well as other challenges like shared jurisdiction and workplace drug testing.

On a team player note, inclusiveness creates loyalty and increases productivity and profits. Including everyone in the ESOP is a gesture showing that Tribune's union represented employees are equal partners with your nonunion employees and yourself. This seems like the kind of smart investment that will pay serious dividends for the whole team.

There is no reason we can't get all the players; management; union reps and members; and nonunion employees, together as needed informally on a regular basis and discuss issues and challenges like the ESOP, shared jurisdiction, workplace drug testing, etc. If, in our union/management relationship, we can avoid grievances, Labor Board hearings, and arbitrations by meeting informally to work things out together in a collegiate atmosphere of mutual trust, this new Tribune Company can become a workplace and profit center we can all be proud to be a part of.


Bob D

Talk to Sam <> wrote:

Bob – The employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) was not replaced by the ESOP. I don’t know where you’re getting that. I’m told the ESPP ended in April 2007 right after the transaction was announced, and shares were paid out in December. The new ESOP is part of the new retirement program that just started Jan. 1, 2008 that all unions have to negotiate to participate in. It’s that simple. Sam

From: Robert Daraio []
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2008 11:34 PM
To: Talk to Sam
Subject: RE: Questions

Hi Sam,

Thanks for your kind response. I understand that as an IBEW Local 1212 represented video engineer at WPIX, all benefits are part of the compensation package negotiated in collective bargaining with the Company.

The Tribune Stock Purchase Plan was one of those benefits obtained for the IBEW represented Tribune employees through the collective bargaining process.

As part of your purchase of Tribune, our Stock Purchase Plan was liquidated at $34.00 per share and the proceeds sent to participating employees.

The Stock Purchase Plan was then replaced by the new Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

The IBEW Local 1212 represented employees were not included in this successor plan.

So, we lost a benefit that had been part of our compensation package through the prior collective bargaining process and in return got...nothing.

I'm still confused. I still don't own any of this place like I used to.

As for the rest of my Broadcast Division and WPIX specific questions, I look forward hearing what Randy has to share with us.

All the best,

Bob Daraio
video engineer

Talk to Sam <> wrote:
Our company decides, within the law, what work rules and what benefits it puts in place for non-union employees. When you elect to be represented by a union, then work rules and benefits are negotiated. I am not familiar with the terms of Newsday’s union contracts, but I’m sure that they are the result of a give-and-take negotiation. I’m sure this will be a point of discussion at the next round of negotiations. With regard to you specific questions about PIX, I don’t have any definitive answers yet. Randy will be out to meet with you soon to better assess your needs, and how we can maximize revenue at the station.

From: Robert Daraio []
Sent: Tuesday, December 25, 2007 5:52 PM
To: Talk to Sam
Subject: Questions

Dear Mr. Zell,

Welcome! I'm certainly glad to have you aboard. I do have some questions, thank you for providing all the members of your new team the opportunity to ask them directly.

I am an IBEW represented employee at WPIX. We were included in the old Employee Stock Purchase Plan as part of our compensation package under our collective bargaining agreement.

Under the new ownership this plan was taken from us and we were not included in the new ESOP.

I feel as if I've lost some of my compensation without it being replaced and without any negotiation, as this has occurred between contracts.

It makes me sad to see all the signs posted at work that say "You Own This Place Now", when I actually don't, some people do, but not me, and not any of the other IBEW members who used to be able to have an ownership stake in our company.

What are your plans for the TV stations? Are you keeping us? Are we for sale? If so, as a unit or as individual stations? Are we going to get seed money to expand local production opportunities?

Specific to WPIX, are we going to renew the lease on 42nd Street or are we moving? Will WPIX remain a major New York presence?

I know that's a lot of questions and you may not know the answers to all of them right now.

My grandfather always said "begin the way you mean to continue". Addressing the ESOP issue and questions about the future of the broadcasting unit would certainly be a great place to start.

This all is a huge undertaking. I wish you great success and pledge my full support to growing this business and keeping all the wonderful, talented, people I have the privilege of working with employed.

All the best,

Bob Daraio
Video Engineer

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