Monday, March 16, 2009

Idaho Statesman says it will lay off 25, implement wage cuts


The publisher of the Idaho Statesman announced Monday the paper will lay off 25 employees and implement wage cuts. Here is the email from the publisher:

To: All Employees

From: Mi-Ai Parrish

Date: Monday, March 16, 2008

Subject: Expense reductions


Last week, we told you that we were still developing our expense reduction plans and would tell you about them as soon as possible.


Today, we want to share with you what those plans mean for all of us.


The deepening economic downturn and its negative impact on our revenues require painful, but essential steps to reduce expenses aggressively. As we scoured to find savings, we kept our focus on keeping the newspaper safe, adjusting to new competitive and economic realities, preserving our ability to rebound with the economy, and limiting layoffs.


This plan does call for a 10 percent reduction in our workforce, or 25 positions, and salary reduction for employees who remain with the company.


Where positions are being eliminated, affected employees will be notified over the next two days. Some reductions will be involuntary. Others will provide an opportunity for employees to volunteer to take a severance package where reductions are occurring in work groups of two or more employees. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the positions with the least tenure will be eliminated.


The wage reduction will affect employees whose salary exceeds $25,000 annually (including part-time employees whose salaries meet that level when calculated as if they were full-time).


We have opted for a tiered plan: 3 percent for employees who earn between $25,000 and $49,999, 6 percent for employees who earn between $50,000 and $99,999, 10 percent for employees who earn $100,000 or more. Every employee will receive a letter detailing the impact of the wage reduction.


We also have eliminated all annual bonuses.


Furloughs are a possibility. At this time, we are not planning any for the first half of the year. However, we may revisit that option if financial conditions do not improve.


Other savings include everything from better ink contracts to lighter newsprint, from savings from our press project to our redesign, from cutting daily redelivery of newspapers to dropping dues for industry organizations, from reducing the number of free Scene copies to eliminating low-selling single copy racks. These large and smaller expense cuts saved the equivalent of 99 jobs.


We know this has been a difficult time for all of you, knowing that expense cuts were coming, but not knowing the details. And it was particularly difficult coming as it did while we were launching our new paper, with all the extra work required.


Your ability to focus to accomplish a successful launch of a redesigned paper, at a different size, printed at a different location, despite unexpected complications from late press runs and mechanical issues, has truly been inspiring.


You all should take great pride in your ability to produce a new paper that better serves our readers and advertisers. You took the more difficult path – finding ways to save expenses at the same time as creating a better, more innovative product that required changes in how we do business all across this company.


That ability to change, to create and innovate, to focus and work intensely gives me great confidence in our ability to weather this storm and thrive in the future.


Mi-Ai

Hat tip: comments. Photo credit: mcclatchy.com.

To see the list of other McClatchy layoffs, click here.
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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, so much of that's word-for-word what was sent out at the TNT today, from David Zeeck:

In February and then again last week, we told you that we were still developing our expense reduction plans and would finalize and communicate them to you as soon as possible.

Today, I want to share with you what those plans mean for The News Tribune. We are announcing plans to reduce our workforce by 30 positions, or about 7% of all employees. Although many of these job eliminations will occur through involuntary layoffs, there also will be opportunities for employees to voluntarily elect a severance package where reductions are occurring in work groups of two or more employees. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced according to least tenure.

Reductions will occur in all areas of the operation. Employees affected by this reduction will be notified and provided with information about a transition package. We appreciate their contributions to The News Tribune and will do everything we can to make their transition as smooth as possible.

In addition, we are implementing wage reductions for all employees whose compensation exceeds $25,000 annually. Anyone making more than $100,000 will have their pay reduced by 10 percent; those making between $25,000 and $100,000 a year will have their pay reduced 5 percent. In addition all executive bonuses have been eliminated. Every employee will receive a letter detailing the impact of the wage reduction on their pay and will have the opportunity to ask questions. These wage reductions take effect on April 13, 2009, and will be reflected on the paycheck you receive on May 1, 2009.

I will make my way around the building and to The Gateway for departmental meetings throughout the day, so that we can explain the other operational changes in greater detail.

These are difficult decisions, especially when it means saying goodbye to friends and colleagues, some of long standing. But we must make these additional cuts to remain a viable business and because the economy forces us to hasten our transition to a truly hybrid print/digital information business.

As to the question of furloughs, which has been raised in conversations I’ve had with every department: We are not planning furloughs for the first half of the year. However, we may revisit that option later in the year if financial conditions do not improve. Details will be provided if and when a decision has been made.

I’m sorry that developing this plan has caused anxiety as you waited to learn the details. I want to assure you, however, that the waiting and the careful planning was valuable. As we will make clear in departmental meetings today, many jobs were saved through creative and judicious cuts and adaptations made elsewhere to our operations.

And these cuts, though painful, move us much closer to a new business model with greater flexibility, a lower cost basis and a much higher chance of ultimate success than the traditional print model.

We now ask, as we have in the past, that you focus your efforts on helping our newspaper and Web site remain successful and thrive in the new media world.

Please contact human resources if you have any questions about the severance program or wage reductions.

Thanks.

Zeeck

Anonymous said...

Yea....and please work your tush off doing even more extra tasks for less money until MNI doesn't need you any more and remember to do it with a happy attitude, d--n it!

That applies to all employees at all papers!

Anonymous said...

"That ability to change, to create and innovate, to focus and work intensely gives me great confidence in our ability to weather this storm and thrive in the future."
someone should punch any and every single one of these "managers" who send out these bullshit messages directly in their mouth. Hard enough to loosen all their teeth and knock some sense into them.

Anonymous said...

who is hit in the newsroom?
and how many over $100k were there in the building???
can we please escort Vicky to the door? Hattiesburg, Miss. is among several Gannett papers canning the editor.
take the hint MNI. cut from the head.

Anonymous said...

You gotta love this, "in work groups of two or more employees. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the positions with the least tenure will be eliminated". So I guess what this means is we want you to screw your fellow worker so we don't feel so bad.

Pg1News said...

Seattle PI goes online only. Last print edition tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Work objectives

Do more with less -
Work smarter-
Multi-task-
Plan ahead-

And as an incentitive and reward we will:
- Fire thy co-worker
- Give you a whoppin pay cut
- Furlough you next quarter so you can implement the above
- Borrow on your 401k

All because we were greedy and borrowed billions - and too stupid to actually think we might have to pay it back with real dollars.