Gannett employees get a week off


Without pay, though. CEO Craig Dubow sent Gannett Company employees a memo that most US employees will be furloughed for one week in Q1 to help the company avoid further layoffs. The nation’s largest newspaper company, which also has a 23-station television group and other media operations, has been hard hit by the advertising recession. All in all, Gannett has some 40,000 US employees.

Dubow gave himself a $200,000 pay cut in November and also froze executive salaries for 2009. That was after the company had eliminated some 3,000 positions at its newspapers to cut costs.

Here is the memo that Dubos sent out advising employees of the mandatory time off:

“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,” Dubow told staffers.

Blogger Jim Hopkins, a former Gannett employee, has followed developments at the company closely on his Gannett Blog, which is not endorsed by the company. In addition to the memo from Dubow, he has also posted the Q&A the company sent out regarding the furlough program.

RBR/TVBR observation: There is plenty of pain to go around in this recession. Dubow is to be commended for sharing in the cost-cutting moves and having other top managers do so as well. No one likes to get one less week of pay, but in the current environment we suspect that most people are willing to do that if it spares them and people they work with having to receive pink slips.