Saturday, January 29, 2011

What a furlough week really costs the top brass; document shows their hit is much less than yours

Regarding the new round of mandatory one-week furloughs, Anonymous@12:24 p.m. today asks: "Just out of curiosity, what does it mean in real people dollars if CEO Craig Dubow and COO Gracia Martore take a 'reduction in salary equal to a week's furlough?' Maybe I missed this, but it would help provide a snapshot that might be jaw-dropping when placed in context with what the peons make, especially when balanced against what Martore and Dubow take home each year in salary and bonuses."

The answer is a little complicated. First, it'll be another year before we know how much they got paid in 2011. Indeed, we don't know yet what they got paid last year; Gannett won't disclose those figures until March.

For those reasons, I must assume data for 2009, except in the case of Chief Operating Officer Martore; the company disclosed her base salary for 2010 when she got promoted early in the year. (Table shows pay for company's top five executives in 2009.)

Most important, the loss of a week -- an effective 1.9% wage cut -- only applies to executives' base salaries. Much of their pay is bonuses, stock awards and pension value increases, which aren't subject to the furlough loss. So, as a percentage of total pay, the furlough week will hurt them far less than it will the average employee. That is because, in the examples below, the executives' total pay was effectively cut only 0.5% to 0.6% -- much less than the 1.9% for you. After all, their bonuses are based partly on successfully cutting your pay.

Here, then, is the snapshot reader 12:24 requested:

Craig Dubow, chief executive
  • Minimum base salary: $1.2 million. (Beginning Nov. 1, 2008 and continuing through 2009, he voluntarily reduced his base to $1 million.) The loss of one week would cut his 2011 salary $19,000
  • In 2009, however, he got an additional $3.8 million in stock awards and pension value not subject to a furlough-related loss
Gracia Martore, chief operating officer
  • Minimum base salary: $950,000. (This is her 2010 base, after she was promoted to COO. We also know she voluntarily reduced it to $900,000.) The loss of a week would cut her 2011 salary $18,050
  • Her total 2009 pay (before she was promoted to COO): $4.02 million
Bob Dickey, U.S. newspaper division president
  • Base salary: $588,942. This would be cut $11,190 in 2011
  • Total 2009 pay: $1.94 million
Dave Hunke, USA Today publisher
  • Base salary $463,141. This would be cut $8,799 in 2011, if he were furloughed. (The furloughs apply only to the U.S. newspaper division, plus Dubow and Martore. USAT isn't part of the division, however. I'm including Hunke for the benefit of USAT employees furloughed in the past.)
  • His total 2009 pay: $1.85 million
Earlier: Dickey's memo on the current quarter's furloughs

How much do you get paid annually? Provide your job title, and number of years worked for Gannett. Please post your replies
 in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. Wow - the loss of one week of Craig Dubow's base salary is more than I make in a year. Yup, that really puts things into perspective.

  2. Rob Dickey? Who's that?

    And I'm not sure David Hunke, as part of USA Today, will have to take a furlough. I know they said executives would, but is that across the board or specific to divisions (and the very top brass)?

  3. 2:38 That should have been BOB Dickey. (His full names is Robert J. Dickey.)

    Also, although the current-quarter furlough applies only to the U.S. community newspaper division, in which USAT isn't a part, I've included Hunke from the perspective of that paper's employees.

    I've added language to clarify Hunke's inclusion.

  4. Ridiculous. I got a measly 2% raise at the end of last year, and this furlough effectively wipes it out. I plan on working as much overtime as I can get away with, which shouldn't be too hard now that we're so understaffed.

  5. In my entire 25-year span with Gannett, I never once was given a "merit" increase despite having an excellent, long-established money-making and money-saving reputation among both clients and involvement by name. Instead, all that time, it was always just shy of inflation. 1.5% here. 2% there. I didn't care; I'm not materialistic. But what a sap! I figured my work was more important to the clients and the public than having management recognize it, and it turns out management doesn't recognize anything except whatever corporate wants to hear. Amateurs and cowards.

  6. 3:55, if you got a 2% raise and a furlough both this year and last year (which you would have if you worked all last year), your pay this year will be 2% higher than last year. And because of the change in SS withholding this year, that's another 2% increase. Of course, the employee share of health insurance might eat up all that and your take home pay will be less.

  7. For context, the average weekly wage in the United States rose about 2% in 2010.

  8. I got a "merit" raise in 2009, but Gannett did what it does best and played it cheap.

    Instead of raising my base pay, it gave me the raise in the form of a one-shot bonus. So I ended up losing more to taxes and Gannett saved on future Social Security and 401k payments.

    ATTENTION: Anyone thinking of working for Gannett, just keep moving on!

  9. This is exactly what needs to be discussed in our country right now. It isn't only at
    Gannett where high-paid executives are getting rich at the peons' expense. Just think about Wall Street, the Merrill Lynch, etc. bonuses paid with bank bailout money. Just think of the names Madoff, Lay, Kozlowski, etc. I could go on, but there's limited space here.

    Clearly in this country the corporate executives believe that they DESERVE better than the rest of us, that they DESERVE to be immune from any hard times, that they DESERVE their money regardless of the decisions they make (or don't make).

    It's time to reform the system. Until 100 percent of executive pay (including bonuses and stock options) is tied DIRECTLY to performance things cannot truly get better in this country.

    Performance should be measured in the amount of business the company receives, in the amount of American employees retained and new American hires. Performance should NOT be measured by a company's stock price.


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