And just who are the true owners of Tribune Corporation? The employees, says Teamster General President Jim Hoffa. However, despite the fact that the company was organized as an ESOP, Hoffa says that employees were shoved aside, with all power going to Sam Zell. He wants that to change.
The union argues that the employees are the true owners of Tribune, and putting the company’s television licenses under the control of Zell and his managers constitutes an unauthorized transfer of control to a third party. It complains that the employees had no say in naming either the ESOP trustee or in the makeup of the company’s board.
“The FCC wrongly allowed real estate mogul Sam Zell to force Tribune employee-owners to the sidelines as he saddled them with an untenable $13 billion of debt and took full control of the company they own,” said Hoffa. “This not only violated the law, it led to a wholesale slash and burn strategy that forced the company to eliminate thousands of good jobs, sell off valuable assets, and cut news resources to the bone.”
The union wants all FCC waivers to be stalled or denied “until Tribune’s board has been reconstituted in accordance with commission requirements and the reconstituted board has had an opportunity to pass on the application.”