Philly Newspaper Plans Settle Underfunding Claims

August 23, 2010 ( – The pension plans covering employees at the parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News have agreed to settle their funding claims against the bankrupt publisher for $1.5 million.

An Inquirer news account said the plans agreed to drop their appeals of the bankruptcy reorganization plan, which clears the new owners of responsibility for keeping the pensions funded in the future (see Newspaper Pension Plans Blocked from Delaying Reorganization).

According to the news story, seven union plans said they were owed $12 million to cover funding shortfalls since the company filed for bankruptcy in February 2009. The company’s lenders are in the process of taking possession of the company, which they plan to rename Philadelphia Media Network Inc.  Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., is being sold for $139 million to 16 financial institutions that were among its original senior lenders.

As part of its agreements with the unions, the new owners will offer union members a 50% match for up to 6% percent of pay contributed to a 401(k).

The Newspaper Guild, the company’s largest union, has agreed to a three-year pact that includes a 2% across-the-board pay cut and 10 unpaid furlough days a year, equivalent to an additional 4% cut.