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MediaNews drops 401(k) contributions

The Denver Business Journal reports that MediaNews Group has notified non-union employees at The Denver Post that the company will no longer match 401(k) retirement-account contributions.

The Web site LA Observed reports that similar notices were distributed to employees of the Daily Breeze of Torrance.

The Lake County (California) News says they also went to workers at the Lake County Record-Bee.

The Lake County News obtained a memo from Jim Janiga, senior vice president of human resources for MediaNews Group’s California Newspaper Partnership, in which he informs employees that the company’s matching contribution to the 401(k) plan will be suspended Jan. 1, 2009, “for an indefinite period of time.”

Janiga added that the suspension will run through all of 2009 but “could possibly be reinstated beginning in 2010.”

“The decision to suspend the matching contribution was not made lightly,” Janiga wrote. “This is an expense reduction needed to help offset still declining revenues, a trend we are all too familiar with and which continues to impact the newspaper industry and most all private and public sectors throughout our local, state and national economies.”

The Lake County News printed details about the MediaNews pension plan, which covered 11,880 participants or beneficiaries as of Dec. 31, 2007.

The Business Journal said it was not immediately clear which if any other MediaNews Group papers nationwide received the notices. The privately held company operates more than 50 daily newspapers in 11 states including 11 dailies in the Bay Area.

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