A common complaint among Wisconsin State Journal employees is that their parent company's joint ownership of The Capital Times works to their disadvantage. But for once its corporate ties to the smaller, now mostly digital Cap Times has had benefits - literally - for the State Journal.
In late October, the Iowa-based Lee Enterprises, half-owner of Capital Newspapers, announced it was suspending payments to its workers' 401(k) plans and halving its matches of employees' contributions. It was feared these cuts would be made company-wide, also affecting employees of the Cap Times and Capital Newspapers ("Will Lee's Lead Be Followed?" 11/14/08).
In fact, employees of all three entities will share a common fate, but one less severe than at other Lee papers. Workers of all three entities were recently told that their 401(k) contributions would drop from 6.2% to 3.1%, but not be suspended. (The match of worker contributions would be cut in half, as elsewhere within Lee.)
"Despite these decreases," State Journal publisher Bill Johnston wrote his staff, "we are still offering a competitive benefit plan in Madison." For that, they may have another Bill to thank - one with the last name of Evjue.