San Diego Newspaper Tries to Shape Up

The San Diego Union-Tribune has new ownership. And the new owners appear to have arrived with some steel-toed boots, looking to kick some rear ends. In a memo to staff, the company announced it’s changing its working hours from 37.5 to 40 each week at no additional pay, and then the real kicker — mandating required business attire for those who work with the public.

Now, the hours worked issue would likely grate on my nerves if you’re not giving people more money. You’ve basically just told them they’re getting a decrease in pay, and if you do that across the board you’d better have a remarkably good reason.

But, as someone whose main critique of my fellow 20-40 somethings is that they dress like rubbish (also, they’re largely undependable and unaccountable — and say "like" way too often), I’m rather on board with the new dress code. Every time I watch a movie set in the 1920s – 1950s, I get downright jealous of the fellas in those pictures. Because if I were to dress that classily at just about any bar I frequent today, people would think I was coming from a funeral or I forgot when Halloween was (or I got lost on the "Road to Perdition"). Thanks to Ragan’s PR Daily, here’s some text from the Union-Tribune’s memo:

Appropriate Appearance – While we are upgrading the appearance of the workplace for everyone, we would like employees who work with the public to dress in sharp business attire. Again, individual supervisors will detail what is expected. Employees who do not work directly with the public, should keep in mind that we always have visitors, government officials/dignitaries in and out of our building, and the desire is to have a professional workplace appearance. ‘Casual Friday’ will continue, but should be only slightly less business oriented than Monday through Thursday.

So what do you think? Is this a case of ownership oppressing its workforce, or a commendable attempt to turn around a business in a struggling industry?