All Philly Newspaper Employees to Be Fired, Rehired

Papers' current owners will shut down and a new company will take over when sale is finalized

With the transfer of power looming at Philadelphia Newspapers, L.L.C., the company notified its entire workforce that they will be terminated. But luckily, it won't last for long.

The company -- which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and -- sent a letter to all 4,500 employees Friday notifying them that the company will be shutting down when the sale is finalized in late May.

But the paper's various unions reassured everyone that their jobs are still safe.

A group of creditors bought the media empire for $139 million at a bankruptcy auction in late April. The sale was blessed by a bankruptcy judge and is set to be finalized in court on May 25.

However, because of the bankruptcy, the company that currently owns the properties will be dissolved and its assets transferred to the new owners and new publisher Greg Osberg.

Immediately following the new company's forming, all employees will be rehired, the new company's COO Robert Hall told NBC Philadelphia Friday.

The letters are required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. WARN states employees must be notified 60-days in advance of any major layoffs, plant closures or sale of businesses.

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Inquirer said this layoff provision was included in the final sale agreement.

While the media outlets' new owners have announced their commitment to staff, some may still be weary of the future.

The creditors previously had said they would fire all staffers and then ask them to reapply – hiring only half back. They dropped that plan in the final round of bids for the media company.

Some employees worry a reduced workforce will affect journalistic integrity.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell met with the new owners last week and said Friday he plans to watch the transition closely.

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