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Arizona Republic and Channel 12 Employees Must Take Another Week of Unpaid Leave

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One employee of the Arizona Republic noted wryly in a Facebook status update that he was at home on a mandated, unpaid leave when news came of a second round of Gannett furloughs.

The new mandate requires most of Gannett's 41,000 employees -- including those at the state's largest newspaper and Channel 12 (KPNX-TV) -- to take an additional week of unpaid leave between April 1 and March of 2010. Employees who make $90,000 or more annually must take a two-week furlough.

"Revenue numbers continue their downward slide..." says Gannett CEO Craig Dubow in a memo obtained by Gannett Blog. The company was forced to choose once again between layoffs or more furloughs, Dubow writes.

While newspapers are struggling nationally, local papers have been slammed with bad news in recent days.

Today's Gannett announcement comes less than a week after a furlough order by Freedom Communications, the parent company of the Incredible Shrinking East Valley Tribune. We also told you last week about the Tucson Citizen living on day-to-day life support.

On an etymological side note, we wonder how the word "furlough" -- which sounds soft and fuzzy -- became so foul. Before the recession and news that companies and public entities were requiring unpaid leave, we always thought "furlough" meant something good. Soldiers weary of battle are traditionally given furloughs to have sex and get wasted (unless they're stationed in the Middle East). When prisoners get furloughs, that means the glory of temporary freedom.

Suddenly, furlough is a four-letter word. 



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