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San Diego Union-Tribune Lays Off 178 Employees After Sale

This file photo from Sept. 23, 2014, shows the Mission Valley building that houses The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Associated Press
This file photo from Sept. 23, 2014, shows the Mission Valley building that houses The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says it is laying off 178 of its 603 employees. The announcement Tuesday came less than a week after the newspaper's $85 million sale to Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Publishing Co. was completed.

The majority of the cuts will affect employees who work to print and deliver the Union-Tribune, such as drivers, electricians and pressroom staffers, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The sale allowed Tribune Publishing Co. to move the printing operation from Mission Valley to Los Angeles and consolidate it with that of the Los Angeles Times and national publications delivered to local markets, the Union- Tribune reported. Some operations employees will be able to apply for work at the Los Angeles printing plant.

The change is expected to be completed in the next month and may cause a short-term delivery disruption.

The Union-Tribune reported that 36 workers in advertising sales and finance, 29 employees in the circulation department and nine newsroom positions were cut. Laid off employees were given two months notice and a severance package.

The majority of the laid off newsroom employees worked for U-T TV. The sale did not include the television studio or control room.

Union-Tribune Editor Jeff Light said the layoffs would not affect readers.

In the sale, which was completed Thursday, Chicago-based Tribune assumed the San Diego daily's pension debt and took over nine community publications. The company restored the 146-year-old paper's name from U-T San Diego to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

A regional operating organization called the California News Group will oversee both the San Diego newspaper and the Los Angeles Times.

Austin Beutner, the Times' publisher and CEO, said CNG would run both newspapers as separate brands with different newsrooms. He'll serve as publisher and chief executive for both papers, as well as the California News Group.

Tribune purchased the newspaper from developer Doug Manchester, who acquired it four years ago. He later purchased the North County Times and community weeklies.