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Feared U-T job cuts aren't San Diego's only layoffs

As workers let go, nine-dollar hourly shuttle spots offered by parking giant from L.A.

Nine bucks an hour (plus tips) doesn't quite cut it in Southern California's economy.
Nine bucks an hour (plus tips) doesn't quite cut it in Southern California's economy.

San Diego's cut-rate job picture, bemoaned by University of Southern California sociologists, is bad and getting worse.

"The economy is developing in a way that will generate further income inequality, with higher-paying jobs out of reach for the growing segments of the population, while the tourism and service sectors that are within reach for these workers pay low wages," was how USC put it in July.

Kevin Faulconer

“The Mayor’s veto of an $11.50 living wage ordinance, followed by City Council’s override and business leaders’ subsequent move to put the ordinance on the ballot, exemplifies the political and economic divisions that threaten to keep economic growth an exclusionary enterprise."

Now, with the stock price of its parent plunging more than 17 percent in the wake of a negative New York Times story, workers at the Union-Tribune, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, may have more reason than ever to be concerned about their future.

Eli Broad

The lengthy Times account reviews the ongoing war between members of the Los Angeles political and business establishment — most notably billionaire Eli Broad — and Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, headed by former Time, Inc. executive Jack Griffin.

Jack Griffin
Douglas Manchester

"He was welcomed with good will, but when faced with the reality of a large, complex business like Time Inc. he had no clue what to do except spend millions on multiple consulting firms,” John Huey, then–editor-in-chief of Time, Inc. magazines said about Griffin in a statement to the paper.

“He was very threatened by strong players who pushed back so he replaced them with small-timers who, like he, weren’t up to the task.”

Time, Inc., Huey’s statement said, "had to get rid of him. He was impossible for those above and below him, and he was wrecking the place.”

Tina Brown, ex-editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, came to Griffin's defense. “I’ve found working with him, that he’s so smart,” Brown said, according to the New York Times story. “He’s a great, decisive guy, a very, very hardheaded guy.”

Tribune sucked the Union-Tribune into its troubled vortex when the Chicago-based firm, purchased the San Diego operation in May for $85 million from local Republican kingpin Douglas Manchester.

"For better or worse, the company was set up as a platform company with shared services to build and grow and consolidate,” the New York Times quoted Griffin as saying of Tribune Publishing.

He vowed to continue with a business plan calling for '“one, accelerating our transition to digital; two, diversifying our revenue base; three, accelerating our national sales initiatives; four, maintaining a disciplined cost structure; and five, pursuing accretive acquisitions.”

It's the disciplined cost structure part that has staffers in both L.A. and San Diego worried about losing their jobs. On the other hand, yet another U-T buyout by a big-money partisan owner such as Broad, a Democrat, might save the papers and jobs for awhile, but would likely be politically fraught, many argue.

Nathan Fletcher
Irwin Jacobs

Feeding that fear has been the abrupt public reappearance of Nathan Fletcher, the twice-failed mayoral candidate with close political ties to Broad’s friend, fellow Democrat, and nonprofit media backer, Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

Meanwhile, a less publicized but perhaps equally as important change — at least to airport-shuttle drivers and valet parkers — is about to occur.

According to a so-called WARN report issued by the state's Employment Development Department, San Diego Park 'n Fly, which according to its website operates four facilities near the airport here, has issued 71 permanent layoff notices effective October 23.

Management in San Diego didn't immediately return calls, but an unidentified worker who answered the phone at Park 'n Fly here said the operation has been sold to WallyPark, another mega-airport parking chain, with rehires expected after a job fair to come.

Park 'n Fly is owned by giant Netherlands-based multinational BCD Group. Owner of WallyPark is the Los Angeles–based L & R Group of Companies, according to the firm's website.

"L&R has grown into one of the largest parking property owners in the nation, operating two distinct parking divisions: WallyPark and Joe's Auto Parks," the company’s site says.

Stuart Rubin

L&R chief A. Stuart Rubin, a USC grad, is also chairman, president, and chief executive officer of L.A.'s RP Realty Partners, which, according to its website, "invests in middle-market transactions ranging from $10 million to $100 million in total cost."

WallyPark is currently advertising for shuttle drivers at $9 an hour, plus tips, as well as cashiers, valet drivers, and guest-service associates, whose salaries are not specified.

We've left messages for Rubin and a spokeswoman at Park 'n Fly's Atlanta office seeking further details.

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Nine bucks an hour (plus tips) doesn't quite cut it in Southern California's economy.
Nine bucks an hour (plus tips) doesn't quite cut it in Southern California's economy.

San Diego's cut-rate job picture, bemoaned by University of Southern California sociologists, is bad and getting worse.

"The economy is developing in a way that will generate further income inequality, with higher-paying jobs out of reach for the growing segments of the population, while the tourism and service sectors that are within reach for these workers pay low wages," was how USC put it in July.

Kevin Faulconer

“The Mayor’s veto of an $11.50 living wage ordinance, followed by City Council’s override and business leaders’ subsequent move to put the ordinance on the ballot, exemplifies the political and economic divisions that threaten to keep economic growth an exclusionary enterprise."

Now, with the stock price of its parent plunging more than 17 percent in the wake of a negative New York Times story, workers at the Union-Tribune, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, may have more reason than ever to be concerned about their future.

Eli Broad

The lengthy Times account reviews the ongoing war between members of the Los Angeles political and business establishment — most notably billionaire Eli Broad — and Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, headed by former Time, Inc. executive Jack Griffin.

Jack Griffin
Douglas Manchester

"He was welcomed with good will, but when faced with the reality of a large, complex business like Time Inc. he had no clue what to do except spend millions on multiple consulting firms,” John Huey, then–editor-in-chief of Time, Inc. magazines said about Griffin in a statement to the paper.

“He was very threatened by strong players who pushed back so he replaced them with small-timers who, like he, weren’t up to the task.”

Time, Inc., Huey’s statement said, "had to get rid of him. He was impossible for those above and below him, and he was wrecking the place.”

Tina Brown, ex-editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, came to Griffin's defense. “I’ve found working with him, that he’s so smart,” Brown said, according to the New York Times story. “He’s a great, decisive guy, a very, very hardheaded guy.”

Tribune sucked the Union-Tribune into its troubled vortex when the Chicago-based firm, purchased the San Diego operation in May for $85 million from local Republican kingpin Douglas Manchester.

"For better or worse, the company was set up as a platform company with shared services to build and grow and consolidate,” the New York Times quoted Griffin as saying of Tribune Publishing.

He vowed to continue with a business plan calling for '“one, accelerating our transition to digital; two, diversifying our revenue base; three, accelerating our national sales initiatives; four, maintaining a disciplined cost structure; and five, pursuing accretive acquisitions.”

It's the disciplined cost structure part that has staffers in both L.A. and San Diego worried about losing their jobs. On the other hand, yet another U-T buyout by a big-money partisan owner such as Broad, a Democrat, might save the papers and jobs for awhile, but would likely be politically fraught, many argue.

Nathan Fletcher
Irwin Jacobs

Feeding that fear has been the abrupt public reappearance of Nathan Fletcher, the twice-failed mayoral candidate with close political ties to Broad’s friend, fellow Democrat, and nonprofit media backer, Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

Meanwhile, a less publicized but perhaps equally as important change — at least to airport-shuttle drivers and valet parkers — is about to occur.

According to a so-called WARN report issued by the state's Employment Development Department, San Diego Park 'n Fly, which according to its website operates four facilities near the airport here, has issued 71 permanent layoff notices effective October 23.

Management in San Diego didn't immediately return calls, but an unidentified worker who answered the phone at Park 'n Fly here said the operation has been sold to WallyPark, another mega-airport parking chain, with rehires expected after a job fair to come.

Park 'n Fly is owned by giant Netherlands-based multinational BCD Group. Owner of WallyPark is the Los Angeles–based L & R Group of Companies, according to the firm's website.

"L&R has grown into one of the largest parking property owners in the nation, operating two distinct parking divisions: WallyPark and Joe's Auto Parks," the company’s site says.

Stuart Rubin

L&R chief A. Stuart Rubin, a USC grad, is also chairman, president, and chief executive officer of L.A.'s RP Realty Partners, which, according to its website, "invests in middle-market transactions ranging from $10 million to $100 million in total cost."

WallyPark is currently advertising for shuttle drivers at $9 an hour, plus tips, as well as cashiers, valet drivers, and guest-service associates, whose salaries are not specified.

We've left messages for Rubin and a spokeswoman at Park 'n Fly's Atlanta office seeking further details.

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Comments
8

I'm not sure if this is about people losing their jobs or the antics of billionaires. No mention of the Qualcomm layoffs and I assume some locals will lose HP jobs. Cab drivers will have to go back to Africa because there's nothing left for them here after the Uber invasion. Thousands of jobs are leaving San Diego.

But this article specifically notes 71 jobs which seem likely to be quickly replaced with a similar number and a vague assumption that UT jobs are in jeopardy. Is this dramatic and news in some way that I don't understand? But it also wanders into a long excursion involving the usual billionaires, newspaper company owners/managers, parking lot executives, and politicians; none of whom seem worried about losing a job.

Focus, Matt, or find a new editor.

Sept. 21, 2015

Hello, there is a connection between "people losing their jobs" and the "antics of billionaires." That's the point. You must be a coupon-clipper not to notice the link.

I think the writer is mulling the vagaries of life as an employee in this day and age of gross income inequality. Even high-paid employees like Jack Griffin, who was said to be incompetent and impossible when briefly at Time, Inc. Griffin is now Chicago Tribune Co.'s overlord of the Los Angeles Times and its little sis San Diego Union-Tribune, which is momentarily getting a new publisher famous for cutting, cutting, cutting.

If Matt Potter is thinking about $9/hour Park 'n Fly drivers, good for him: no one else is.

Sept. 21, 2015

Employers who do not pay a living wage and do not provide comprehensive healthcare and pensions to their employees and who's employees qualify for taxpayer funded welfare benefits should lose all tax deductions for all employees. If you can't pay a living wage then you really don't need that person. Serve your own food, clean your own room, park your own car and drive yourself to the airport.

Sept. 22, 2015

So how many small mom-n-pop businesses should be shut down, and what happens to all the people who were earning something but now earn nothing?

Sept. 22, 2015

Your argument is seriously flawed. Everyone plays by the same set of rules when the minimum wage is increased. Prices will probably increase, and some jobs may be automated, but that is OK because everyone has to pay the minimum wage in a given area, and if a job is so simple that it can be automated, then it should be automated.

Businesses won't shut down and leave money on the table. Business won't move out of state. There are plenty of paying customers to support businesses in California, raising the minimum wage isn't going to change that as lots of people want to live here.

Even if the minimum wage were something ridiculous $20.00/hr all that would happen is that the price that people pay would go up to cover the additional labor cost, or more automation would be employed.

Sept. 22, 2015

hwstar: Right on. In many industries higher wages has forced automation. When wages are low employers tend not to invest in automation. The prime example is agriculture, as long as cheap labor abounds crops will be harvested by overworked underpaid illegal aliens.

Sept. 23, 2015

"Nine bucks an hour (plus tips) doesn't quite cut it in Southern California's economy."

For you, maybe. And if that's the case, all you have to do is not take the job. Problem solved. But there are a lot of people who aren't worth any more than that, and/or are perfectly content to get it.

Sept. 22, 2015

"There are a lot of people who aren't worth any more than … (nine bucks an hour.)" Sez who besides you, jnor? Maybe Ayn Rand. Whatever happened to "love thy neighbor," and "walk a mile in another man's moccasins?" Accepting a paltry wage is necessity, but "perfectly content to get it?" I don't think so.

Sept. 22, 2015

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