KARE dodges Gannett furloughs; St. Cloud paper not as lucky

You thought 2009’s crappiness would abate in 2010? Perhaps if you’re a Gannett broadcasting employee — say, at KARE. But Gannett’s newspaper division, which includes the St. Cloud Times? Not so much.

KARE employees were told today they would dodge first-quarter ’10 furloughs; compare their memo to the one that Gannett’s community newspaper division, including St. Cloud, received. TV first:

It’s being announced today that some Gannett operations are instituting furloughs in the first quarter of 2010.

At this time, the Broadcast Division does not plan to implement a furlough program in 2010. With your help, we have taken many difficult but necessary steps that we believe have us well positioned going into the new year. Those steps included a permanent reset of our salary structure that we implemented earlier this year.

The business climate remains difficult to forecast. But we are seeing some positive trends across multiple sectors of advertising, and we are optimistic about a slow but steady improvement in advertising conditions throughout 2010.

I cannot stress enough how much everyone appreciates the sacrifices and commitments you have made on behalf of your co-workers and your company in 2009. It is a year that posed unprecedented challenges for everyone. Thanks to your collective efforts, we are entering 2010 as a much stronger company, and with good momentum.

Newspaper version, via Romenesko:

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 [Note: memo seems to cut off prematurely here]

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 12/01/2009 - 04:09 pm.

    “We are optimistic about a slow but steady improvement in advertising conditions throughout 2010.”

    Going with how you started this piece, there is no reason to believe that this will be true. There is almost certainly a second wave of credit crunch shaping up, and unemployment is likely to worsen slightly.

    I understand very well that this position is not popular with the Middle Class, but that’s too bad. If you saw it here first, please remember who told you.

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