Gannett is implementing a long-rumored furlough program that will require most U.S. employees to take a week off without pay.
Gannett CEO Craig Dubow announced the plan in a memo today, sent to E&P, and posted below. It is followed by a memo from Bob Dickey, head of the newspaper division:
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.
To: All U.S. Community Publishing employees
From: Bob Dickey
The national recession is worsening and companies across America, inside and outside of our industry, are taking bold steps to help offset the current situation.
Like others, Gannett has had to make some very difficult decisions over the past year. Having to reduce staff, reformat newspapers and end delivery to some customers has had a deep impact on our company and all of us. We have consulted with many of you on how to minimize the impact on our readers and customers.
With your help and commitment, we have continued publishing quality products and populating Web sites daily. We are innovating and growing our digital businesses. We are working to emerge from this downturn with new energy and new solutions for our customers. Due to our financial management, Gannett remains an industry leader.
Unfortunately, the advertising environment is still difficult and the economic issues unprecedented. We must take additional steps even as we focus on growing our local readership and market share revenues.
As a result of your feedback, and in an effort to minimize the need for more layoffs, I have decided to take another approach as we enter 2009. To that end, every non-represented employee in the USCP division will be furloughed for five business days during this quarter. That includes me, your publisher, everyone. Unions will be asked to accept furloughs in lieu of layoffs. We all will be sharing the financial hardship.
To be clear, a furlough means you will not work and will not be paid for furlough days.
Exempt, salaried employees must take one full payroll week within the pay period. Non-exempt, hourly employees may take five days at any pre-approved time before the last weekend in March.
If you are not sure which category you are in, check with your Human Resources representative. Also, a fact sheet is attached that should answer any questions you may have. If not, talk with your supervisor or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am determined to maintain our operations, provide the best local news and information for our readers and help keep Gannett a healthy company. I thank you in advance for joining me in achieving this goal.