Employees of the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Monterey Herald and all other MediaNews papers in the Bay Area were told today that they must take five unpaid furlough days between Feb. 1 and end of March 31. The following is from the memo e-mailed to employees at noon today:
- Dear Fellow Employee:
In a further effort to help offset the continuing decline in revenue and position the company for future financial success while mitigating further job losses, I am announcing the implementation of a mandatory one (1) week furlough to be scheduled during the period behinning February 1, 2009 and running through the month of March. All executives and management of the Company will be included. Each employee’s department head will determine the actual week an employee is furloughed.
I realize that we are all working hard to overcome this difficult time. I know this action will create a strain on our personal budgets, and unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that a furlough will prevent any further layoffs. However, from what I am hearing across our company… “a brief period without pay is better than many more layoffs.”
Gannett asked its employees earlier this month to take a week-long unpaid furlough, indicating the move would prevent layoffs.
The Guild responded to the memo with a statement on its Web site saying the furlough would be discussed in contract negotiations on Friday.
“All of us are aware of the difficult economic climate affecting the newspaper industry in general and MediaNews in particular. We are committed to working cooperatively with any management committed to working with us,” the Guild said in the unsigned statement. “As always, our primary goal is to minimize the impact of any cost-cutting on our memberships, and to enhancing job security in these difficult times.”