David Batterson 4:30 p.m., March 14
Copley Press Tells Employees It Will Put No More Money into Defined Benefit Pension Plan
Union-Tribune employees say they were told Friday via the Copley Press's electronic in-house communications system that the company will no longer put money into the defined benefit pension program. New employees will not get into the defined benefit program, although they will be able to get into the defined contribution program (401K). More significantly, the company will freeze contributions to current employees already in the defined benefit plan. Their money will be there, but the company will no longer contribute to the plan, say employees. The changeover will take place Jan. 31 of 2009, or possibly earlier if the company is sold before then. As recently as two years ago, Copley was saying that the plan was overfunded. Hal Fuson, chief operating officer (and, in effect, chief executive officer), refused to comment on the pension plan -- whether the information I heard from employees was correct, or whether the plan is still overfunded. Nor would he comment on the status of any possible negotiations to sell the company, which put itself on the block last July.