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Gannett Furloughs: Read All About It in Leaked Memo

Every journalist loves a good leak, and Gannett's got enough of them to keep a whole Web site afloat.

We told you about Gannett's latest round of furloughs yesterday (okay, that was after the Gannett-owned newspaper published its own an Associated Press article -- but azcentral buried it). Today, an insider sent this memo to New Times(Bob Dickey is the chief of Gannett's newspaper division, and former top dog at the Arizona Republic:


To: USCP employees
From: Bob Dickey
Subject: Furloughs

We continue to battle very difficult economic headwinds causing consumers
and advertisers to remain cautious, resulting in further revenue declines.
This will require our division to implement a second round of furloughs in
the coming months. Furloughs again will be required for all US Community
Publishing employees in the second quarter - April, May and June - but we
will approach the program differently than in the first quarter.

Your current pay level will determine the length of your furlough. USCP
employees at the operating units earning $90,000 and above will furlough for
two weeks during the quarter. USCP employees at corporate headquarters
earning $90,000 and above will take one week of unpaid leave and also will
have a temporary pay reduction of the equivalent of one week¹s pay. That
reduction will be spread equally over the three month period. All other
USCP employees will be on the same program as last quarter and furlough for
one week. Your level of pay is based on your salary or hourly wage.
Commissions, bonuses and overtime earnings are not part of the calculation.
Your supervisor will provide the specific details.

Everyone¹s participation in the furlough will enable us to minimize the need
for additional layoffs during the quarter. The vast majority of our
employees fall within the salary ranges that require a furlough of five days
during the quarter. We are asking for a larger contribution from some of
our employees. I believe these employees will embrace and support this
change. We will once again ask employees covered by a bargaining agreement
to participate in lieu of layoffs. We are hopeful union leadership will
once again support this approach.

In addition to the furloughs, we will institute a wage and salary freeze
effective April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010.

I know these measures are especially difficult as everyone juggles busy
workloads and a more difficult economy, however they are critical to our
company as we manage through this historic downturn.

Even in the face of these immediate economic challenges, we are aggressively
pursuing a variety of projects and programs that will improve efficiency and
enhance our sales and marketing efforts in the long term. Our goal for when
the economy improves is to strengthen our position as a news and information
company that will enable us to invest in our local properties for sustained
long-term growth. You will receive more details on these initiatives in the
coming weeks.

I understand the importance of strong local journalism and remain committed
to that mission despite the pressure of the current economy. Again, I wish
to thank all of you for your hard work and patience. We have managed the
current furlough with minimal issues thanks to your commitment and
professionalism. With that same spirit we will manage through the second
quarter also.

Please remain open minded to new approaches and share with me any ideas or
thoughts you have on improving U.S. Community Publishing. I ask that you
continue to keep faith in our industry and support your colleagues as we
work through these economic challenges.


Bob Dickey

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