Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So this is how we play the game

So we all received this email from corporate and management at the station: First from Craig Dubrow;

Today Gannett is implementing a furlough program across all U.S. divisions and at corporate headquarters. This means that most of our U.S. employees - including myself and all other top executives - will be furloughed for the equivalent of one week in the first quarter. This furlough will be unpaid. Unions also will be asked to participate.

We are doing this to preserve our operations and continue to deliver for our customers while confronting the issues raised by some of the most difficult economic conditions we have ever experienced.

After much consideration, we decided a furlough program would be the fairest and least intrusive way to meet these fiscal challenges in the first quarter, which is traditionally the lightest time of the year. We sincerely hope this minimizes the need for any layoffs going forward.

As the day goes on, you will be receiving information from your division presidents explaining the program, including some FAQs to help answer any of your questions and address your concerns about pay and benefits.

We have made some very difficult decisions this past year, all with the goal of keeping Gannett strong and preparing for the future. I understand I have asked a great deal of you, and I regret adding to your burden with this program.

But my sincere hope is that this step removes the need to do anything more drastic, and that business conditions improve. As always, I thank you for your patience and loyalty to Gannett.

So we are supposed to lose a week of pay with a week off. I wonder how this going to affect most employees with kids and mortgages? simple, badly.

Meanwhile this comes out of the Nashville Scene:

Gannett Exec Flies to Tucson to Shutter Paper,

Play in Big Bucks Celebrity Golf Tourney

Last Friday Bob Dickey, Gannett's newspaper division chief flew to Tucson, Ariz. to announce the likely closing of the Tucson Citizen, the state's oldest continuously published daily.

"We all will be sharing the financial hardship," Dickey told Gannett employees earlier in the week, after Gannett--parent company of the Tennessean--announced mandatory unpaid vacations for employees.

Dickey, it turns out, will be sharing the hardship by entering Bob Hope's Chrysler Classic golf tournament, with an entry fee as high as $25,000 for amateurs. He's really feelin' the worker's pain!

As one poster on the excellent Gannett Blog put it:

"I hope this is not coming out of the Gannett expense account. Not after I have had employees in my office crying about how they are going to lose $500 of their weekly wages because of the furlough and they will not be able to afford their rent and utility bills."

Maybe I will take off the week that we are supposed to go through the digital transition, say feb 15-22 and let management run the station whilst i enjoy a week off without pay.

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