1991 Memo from Pieter VanBennekom

Here's an April 18, 1991, memo from then-UPI executive Pieter VanBennekom:


Our paychecks this week will reflect one week of pay at higher levels that were negotiated with the Wire Service Guild and extended to exempt employees as well. The checks also will reflect the company's higher contributions to payment of medical insurance premiums and will therefore make more disposable income available to us.

When the management of the company agreed to these measures more than two months ago, it was an indication of our confidence that we would be far enough along at this point in the process to be able to take this very necessary step. I am pleased to be able to report that this confidence seems to have been borne out by recent developments.

We are not yet in a position to set a date for completion of the transaction that will move us past Infotechnology's own restructuring. Now, more than ever, we must stick to our policy of refraining from premature name-dropping. Any number of circumstances, some foreseeable and others unforeseen, could still trip us up and there are no iron-clad guarantees.

Nevertheless, I am more confident now than at any time in the recent past that the corporate future of UPI can be resolved in the time frames with which we are dealing.

To give any details at all, even of the general framework of the layers of ongoing negotiations, would be counter-productive at this time. Let me just say that a deal inspiring the confidence of everyone inside and outside UPI may be at our fingertips. Major players are, after much analysis, on the verge of taking the "leap of faith" in a UPI future based on sound business principles. In the meantime, work continues at all levels to ensure that UPI will be in sufficiently sound corporate shape to continue operations under a new corporate umbrella, thus focusing all positive energies toward the re-building of the company, rather than wasting them on curing hangovers of the past.

In this final phase we have entered, it is essential that we keep our eyes focused on restoring UPI to robust health and on defining the best means to reach that goal. Because of the sacrifices that we have made, and even more important because of the uncertainty hanging over us, all of us have been working far too long under conditions of extreme stress.

Unipressers should be commended for the generally high degree of professionalism with which we have approached our jobs and dealt with co-workers, clients and others.

I can only express the sincere hope that the improvements in take-home pay this week will contribute in some measure to our state of equanimity. We need to preserve our positive energies for the real task -- the rebuilding of UPI after the conclusion of the transaction that will in fact signal the beginning of our real work. When complete, the transaction does not solve our problems, rather it frees us to address those problems more aggressively. The vastly more rewarding rebuilding tasks we will confront will require our greatest energies. Let's make sure those energies are ample and ready.

Pieter VanBennekom, April 18, 1991