Seattle Times Requesting Union Cooperation in Freezing Pensions

January 29, 2009 ( - Struggling Seattle Times Co. said Wednesday it will ask some of its unionized workers to allow the freezing of future accruals to their pension funds.

In a five-page memo to employees obtained by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Times Co. Senior Vice President Alayne Fardella said a freeze would improve the company’s financial situation this year. Earlier this month, The Hearst Corp., which owns the Post-Intelligencer, put the newspaper up for sale and said it would stop printing the newspaper in 60 days if no buyer is found.

The Times has 11 bargaining units representing about 845 employees, spokeswoman Jill Mackie told the newspaper.

Other newspaper publishers have focused on their defined contribution 401(k) plans in their cost-cutting strategies (see Newspaper Company Suspends 401(k) Match, Profit Sharing Contributions ).