Dickey confirms more furloughs
Gannettoid.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Dec. 1, 2009 • Afternoon report
Gannett will institute another round of one-week furloughs in the first quarter of 2010, according to a memo sent Tuesday by Bob Dickey, president of the company's newspaper division.
Dickey and CEO Craig Dubow have ignored recent e-mails from Gannettoid.com attempting to confirm rumors of such an announcement and company spokeswoman Robin Pence had denied furloughs were planned in a Sept. 23 phone call. Pence, who had not commented on the topic again since September, had cited a budget letter sent that month telling publishers not to budget for furloughs.
Gannett first instituted furloughs in the first quarter of 2009, then again in the second quarter before saying it would not have more the rest of the year.
The topic of 2010 furloughs came up when Dickey held a meeting with about a dozen various editors at the company's Content Summit in September. A person familiar with the meeting told Gannettoid.com that Dickey said furloughs were possible for 2010. When pressed at the meeting, Dickey confirmed furloughs were expected. No official had confirmed the rumor until Dickey's announcement.
This round of furloughs is not planned for union employees, but employees at the Detroit Free Press recently approved furloughs.
Dickey's furlough announement:
CONTAINS PROPRIETARY BUSINESS INFORMATION - NOT FOR PUBLIC DISSEMINATION
December 1, 2009
To: All US Community Publishing employees
From: Bob Dickey
We are just completing the preliminary budgets for 2010. Thanks to all of your hard work and efforts to keep our costs down this year and create greater efficiencies across the division, we are heading into the new year with some solid improvements under our belt. We have seen some promising trends in advertising with ad declines slowing throughout the year and as we begin the holiday shopping season, we are also seeing some indication that retailers may be spending more on advertising.
While these trends are encouraging, the overall economy is still fragile with a number of business uncertainties. Therefore, as we head into 2010, we think it is prudent to take a conservative approach toward managing our business. Toward that end, we have decided to implement furloughs across USCP during the first quarter. This is not a companywide initiative though Corporate and some of Gannett’s other operations have also decided to put furloughs into place during the first quarter. No one on the Gannett Management Committee makes these decisions lightly and we understand and appreciate the difficulties furloughs have placed on many of you and your families. The furloughs we took companywide this year, however, saved Gannett a significant amount of money and helped us get through what has been unquestionably the toughest time we have ever faced as a company and division.
We are instituting the furloughs during the first quarter because it is traditionally the lightest time of the year for us. Non-union USCP employees, including me, will be furloughed for five business days during the quarter. We will be communicating separately with union representatives and asking for their support of the furloughs. However, those union-represented employees who recently negotiated pay reductions in their contracts will not be furloughed.
Exempt, salaried employees must take one full payroll week within the pay period, to be completed by Sunday, March 28. Non-exempt, hourly employees will also 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 or supervisor. The attached FAQ should answer any questions you may have.
I cannot stress enough how much the entire leadership of USCP and Gannett appreciate your hard work and many accomplishments which have helped us maintain the industry standard for excellence and leadership in many areas during extraordinarily difficult times. Our community publishing business is doing better and, with the organizational changes we have made throughout the year, well positioned to meet any challenges ahead and to lead us forward as the economy recovers. You’ve done a great job getting us through this year and I thank you for your work and commitment to our division and to Gannett. As always, please feel free to email me with any questions or ideas about our business. My email is address is email@example.com.