An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
For Part 4 of this comment thread, please go here.
A source who's been very reliable in the past tells me furloughs are a virtual certainty in the second quarter -- among the U.S. newspapers, at least. Less clear is whether they would be imposed on all the papers, or on a case-by-case basis.
Someone other than "My Boss", who posted that yesterday in the comments thread? My co-workers have been expecting a second round. Time to tighten the belt another notch--oh wait, I'm cut in half already.
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Give me another week off, I like playing golf, fishing, screw GCI, I Look forward to more time off. Maybe my boss will do my job, the only thing my boss does is sit at his desk all day doing nothing, layoff these bumps and let the folks who do the heavy lifting keep on keeping on.
Q1 is usually a dismal part of the year, but I hear this Q1 is turning out to be particularly bad. So, yes, I am expecting furloughs as a result. This recovery we have been hearing about isn't translating into increased ads as it used to. We seem to be reaching a tipping point where ads are fleeing online.
To the person being asked to work unpaid hours: As a former Gannett manager, I know the company is rabid about non-exempt people being paid accurately for hours worked. This is a federal law, and if corporate HR finds out someone is telling you to work without being paid, that person is in deep trouble. Here's what you MUST do: DO NOT falsify your time sheet. Put hours worked on it. Period. If the supervisor says they will not accept it, tell them you can't break a federal law by falsifying the time sheet. Then the issue will have to go up the ladder or they will have to pay you. If you sign a time sheet that says 35 hours, you will shoot yourself in the foot for any future steps. When I was a manager, Gannett made me sit through hours and hours of training to avoid just this type of situation. I am not a Gannett lover, but the company does want to do the right thing on this. The company can get fined by a factor of however many people work in your unit, times the hours you aren't paid. If DOL hears of this, they can come in an interview ever employee to uncover similar situations. Believe me, no publisher wants this to occur. DO NOT sign that time sheet unless it shows the exact time you worked.
Non-exempt employees working unpaid hours was standard practice at the Gannett paper where I worked. Managers knew. The publisher knew. People went to HR about it several times. There was no way they could not know. There were times where there were only two or three people in the newsroom to put out a daily paper.
12:47 tell us what site you are talking about. Don't be shy!
That sites manager needs to be thrown under the bus. Big time!
When we actually had a budget for travel, we were sent on the road to cover our local teams in the playoffs, state tournaments, etc. The days were usually 12-15 hours long sometimes for a week at a time. We used to get comp time but one year our supervisor said no- we should be happy to cover these things- no comp time. So I put the hours down on my timecard. I even "had the nerve" to put a travel day in as a day of paid work, this after to save a few bucks, he scheduled us on a flight that made a stop with a six hour layover on top of the 4 hour flight time, arrival early at the airport to check in, etc. MY boss said I would not be compensated for this an actually whited-out the hours I wrote and marked me down for 37.5 hours for both weeks, wiping out almost 30 hours of OT. I filed a complaint with HR. It was taken seriously and he and I were called into a meeting where he denied doing it. I told them to wait while I went upstairs to payroll- yes back then we even had a payroll dept., had the head of payroll bring in my timecard in question and show the VP of HR the card. I then proceeded to scratch off the white out like a lottery ticket and showed them my true time. He was admonished, I was paid for the time, but of course, I was never sent on the road again. Eventually I was a "lay off" victim.
Rumor has it that the worker bees here at USA Today (Circulation) may be receiving IPhones and/or IPads? What's the chance of that taking place?
Anyone attend SXSW?
If I had a nickel for every time my NJ production boss told me to "just put the hours down under on THIS day" I'd have at least a little bit more moolah than I do now. Of course no one ever said "falsify your hours" but thats the end result. You know she got her pay raises and bonuses for increased productivity for less dollars paid out. Never could buy us pizza either.
In Soviet Union, as long as they pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.
You mean Rusha?
In New Joisey, you shoulda lissen to da boss, or we take you for a little swim with da fishees.
Seriously, how many complaints would it take for DOL to review an entire company? Or is it just site by site? Maybe we all should be keeping emails.
If there is any substance or truth to these overtime complaints, then the matter needs to be referred to the Department of Labor's wage and hour division. You can do this directly, or through a lawyer. But the lawyer will typically take 30 percent of any settlement as legal fees. If there has been retaliation or layoffs resulting from making complaints about not being paid overtime, a lawyer is probaby advised. There are really stiff penalties for this, but it would probably require a trial or threatened trial to get resolution or restoration.There are also state regulations that vary across the country. Your regional office of the wage and hour division knows about this.For details:http://www.dol.gov/WHD/overtime_pay.htm
Was the Journal News exempt from furloughs this quarter for some reason? I've noticed some bloggers have been posted daily since the beginning of the year. Granted there are still two weeks left in the quarter but seems unlikely the would all be taking their furlough week then. What gives?
And come to think of it, even if the Journal News has no furloughs this quarter, aren't these bloggers, who I assume are all non-exempt, clearly working more than 37.5 hours a week if they've been posting new updates daily since the beginning of the year. Check the LoHud sports blogs. The evidence is right there.
That's just it. I think most companies are just going to roll the dice that no one has the time/money to report violations to the DOL and follow through. But if there were some kind of company review triggered by a certain number of complaints, I bet there would be plenty of people who could answer honestly about their experiences. As someone said here, even with furlough after furlough, the papers are still coming out. How is that happening, exactly, without the company paying overtime?
1:14 - no doubt this is happening at most Gannett shops, but only the Journal News would be dumb enough to showcase the evidence 24/7 with the blog posts mentioned earlier. Seems like all the labor department has to do is inspect these Lohud sports blogs to see non-exempt workers are working more than 37.5 hours a week. Or, short of that, any of those reporters could use this as evidence to get what I imagine would be a rather lucrative settlement at the very least.
It doesn't cost money to file these complaints. But you must have evidence. If you have evidence to back up your claims, turn it over to the Department of Labor and they will look into it. If there is pressure by supervisors, that increases the penalties. If there is retaliation, they will look into that as well.It also does not cost anything to consult a lawyer on this.
You don't need a lawyer. Just call up the regional DOL office. They have investigators to look into this kind of thing.
Anonymous said ... it is true some EMPLOYEES not taking FURLOUGH westchester site some mangers and supevisor and truck drivers.TOP GANNETT BRASS MANDATES ALL SHARES THE BURDEN OF COST
Ok when are we getting a News Czar? Chief News Director?Without great products , technology and marketing mean NOTHING!!!!Nothing. Time Inc. ousted their new CEO due to a run in with the Chief Editor.....but then Time Inc always put journalism first. I dont care if its the iPad or mobile or social....we better have something people want to read.
We have a chief news czar. She is just tied up with all of the non-core news strategy stuff and expense reduction management.
Given its track record, its "office culture," it's quite likely falsified time records are not isolated instances at Gannett sites. Reading these posts, it reminds me of my own site's manipulation of numbers, usually by a direct supervisor to please his boss, so his boss could please his. This did not happen all the time, but it did happen. And it was understood that if one availed one's self to the Open Door policy at this site, one needn't bother to let that door hit them in the ass.
Everything I have stated about being asked to work additional hours for no pay and for comp time instead is true. I have an email from my manager that I printed that says “no additional hours can be added to your time sheet”. The next time I am asked I am going to let my manager know that it is illegal and that I am more than willing to work but I want to be paid. If I have any problems at that point I will contact the state's labor office.
4:22 - if your e-mail specifically asks you to work additional hours but not get paid for them, you're golden. Take that info to a lawyer and you will be a rich man/woman.
Anonymous said... westchester site not going to be RESUSCITATE IT TO LATE IN THE GAME.
4:22 why don't you post the whole sentence. You know you left the most important part out. You'd have to produce it in court. It's all about context people!
I don't want it to be golden. I actually really love what I do — I just want to be paid for it. My boss was recently thrown into his position and he is basically a good guy. I honestly think what he is saying is not illegal. That is why I am going to educate him. I know we are all over worked but I honestly still enjoy what I do. I don't want to lose my job or sue the company. I just want to be paid for a day's work - that is all. I will bring this to my manager's attention and take it from there. I am one of those employees who actually still loves what I do but want the compensation for it. I am not bitter and don't hate Gannett. I just want what is owed to me. That is all.
That's a good question about what Gannett's top news people actually do. The online Newswatch report is rarely updated. I haven't heard of any training stuff going on here or at other locations. They do have a quarterly contest, but an editorial assistant could handle that. I know the top editorial person isn't part of the management committee, which is not surprising considering Dubow's miniscule background in journalism.Unless the top newser is going to do something of value, it seems like a good place to cut. Spend that money on people who actually help gathering, editing and distributing information. All hands on deck, as they say.
Fact- Furloughs will continue, and will go on as long as the worker bees don't do anything about it. No guts, no pay for 3 more weeks this year. That's a golden fact
H.R. at Gannett sites typically advise department managers to "promote" people to a b.s. title that is an exempt position. One that carries no raise and makes the employee no longer eligible for OT. But the actual job is exactly what they did before and does not involve management duties or direct supervision of others.
From Asian American Journalists Association: David Hunke, president and publisher, USA TODAY, as this year's keynote speaker at the 22nd National Convention Gala Scholarship & Awards Banquet. The event takes place on Saturday, August 13 at 7 p.m. at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Hunke oversees USA TODAY; USATODAY.com; USA TODAY Sports Media Group; and USA TODAY Sports Weekly. Also reporting to Hunke are a number of other Gannett Co., Inc. operations. They include: USA WEEKEND; Gannett Offset; The Detroit Newspaper Partnership L.P.; Banquet; and Fantasy Sports Venture. Sponsored by General Motors
"Golden facts" not withstanding, we won't have four weeks of furlough in a year - that discussion already took place here a while ago. Legal or financial reasons.You don't necessarily need to supervise employees to be exempt. There are several exemption exceptions. Executive exemption is the typical manager's role. Administrative exempts for office work with independent judgment. Professional exempts include work with advanced knowledge or in a field of artistic/creative endeavor. Computer exempts systems analysts, programmers etc. Outside sales exempts salespersons who are usually away from the office. See http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/
From the above site:"Relying upon federal case law, the final regulations clarify that employees of newspapers, magazines, television and other media are not exempt creative professionals if they only collect, organize and record information that is routine or already public, or if they do not contribute a unique interpretation or analysis to a news product. For example, reporters who rewrite press releases or who write standard recounts of public information by gathering facts on routine community events are not exempt creative professionals. Reporters whose work products are subject to substantial control by their employer also do not qualify as exempt creative professionals. However, employees may be exempt creative professionals if their primary duty is to perform on the air in radio, television or other electronic media; to conduct investigative interviews; to analyze or interpret public events; to write editorial, opinion columns or other commentary; or to act as a narrator or commentator. Thus, journalists’ duties vary along a spectrum from the nonexempt to the exempt. The less creativity and originality involved in their efforts, and the more control exercised by the employer, the less likely journalists are to be considered exempt. There is no “across the board” exemption for journalists; nor has there ever been. Rather, each determination must be made on a case-by-case basis, as is the case with all job classifications. The majority of journalists, who simply collect and organize public information, or do not contribute a unique or creative interpretation or analysis, are not likely to be exempt."
11:51 you have no idea what you are talking about. I've been in HR for years and I challenge you to provide a real example of where that happened. Corporate would hand me my ass if I let that happened. To be fair have mistakes happened? Maybe. But a concerted campaign to defraud people and violate Federal law Bullshit! Happy Sunday everyone. Heck of a moon last night.
A real moon last night, no some half assed one. But seriously folks, as a former manager i know it was drilled into me to make sure that 1) if someone worked overtime, they were paid; 2) that we always attempted to get pre-approval so there was no question, 3) but if it was worked it was paid. Of course, exempt/managers etc. can work 1 zillion hours and that is not overtime.
@6:56am…How do District Sales Manager's fair in this mix? It isn't uncommon for a DSM working for USAT to work 50-60 hrs in a one week period and be paid for 37.5 hrs. Just wondering.
Supervisors and executives are generally exempt from overtime pay rules and regulations.
Managers do not get paid by the hour. As someone noted whether they work 30 0r 70 hours a week they get the same salary. They do not have an hourly rate. District Sales Managers are managers. So they get a salary not hourly pay.
I am not 12:47 but this was not uncommon at a paper once run by B.D. & M.K. A blind eye was turned toward it, even though human resources said it was a no no. Lunches skipped to make deadlines. breaks ignored to make deadlines. We were instructed to mark a lunch on our time cards even if we didn't take one. Home life wrecked by long hours because of poor staffing. Sales goals changed in the middle of a sales period (so goal was rarely made and the company showed greater profit), 12,14, 18 hour days... consistently. A production artist worked over 24 hours straight to complete ads to make a deadline. New leadership with an actual soul and desire to make things right came, times & leadership changed & things got better, even with lots of changes, however, with the layoffs and furloughs these times are returning. Employees have to contact each other during furloughs... There are so few people left that only one person may know any one sales client, editorial task or production process. If everyone took their proper breaks and lunches and stuck to a no OT rule, the paper would never hit the streets, with present staffing. I hope someone begins to understand this sooner than later. What is the human cost of the new Gannett initiatives? For my family, I hope to God someone in corporate begins to get some common sense. What does this mean?It's double whammy for corporate and employees. They know this goes on. Yet it helps their bottom line. The numbers look better than they really are, so they think they can do the same work with fewer people and layoffs and furloughs occur, making the situation even worse. In this case the employees are actually contributing to the problem. If everyone stopped immediately from not accounting for the extra work they do, the numbers would eventually get to corporate and it would not look pretty. They would realize they can't cut to produce a product any more and they would have to create some employee growing initiatives at the same time as client growing initiatives.
People here are stupid if they think someone is going to just figure out these things and then deal with them. If you are waiting for that, you will be waiting a long time.How did some of you get hired? It's amazing. Do people come in and dress you and feed you in the morning, too?Get off your asses and do something for yourselves. Whining about it here is a waste of time.
3;18 8:43 pm You are obviously out of the loop. Circulation has been showing off their new IPads for months, all courtesy of Rudd Davis giving them out as gifts at the end of their year.
Wow. The Poughkeepsie Journal has the death of a young girl in a Hyde Park housing development (right in its backyard) and all it can post on the site is about four paragraphs that say that investigators are working the case. Shows how far a once-proud publication has fallen. The ranks of the former police reporters who worked off the city desk there would have been on the scene, talking with neighbors and digging up and reporting facts, not waiting around for the police department dog-and-pony show. I am disgusted.
What have these consultants ,webbmedia, done for USA Today and Gannett?http://www.webbmediagroup.com/client_list.htmThey list both USAT and Gannett on their website. And state "digital strategy"
I would like to hear an update on the properties that have partnered with Yahoo.How are your sales going? What are your concerns?
3:34I have moved on. I just like to pop in every now and then and make you squirm.
11:51 - I too have been in HR for many years. I can tell you that I've reviewed job descriptions that were previously classified as exempt and changed them to non-exempt as they should be. Unless they meet the exemption tests from the DOL, the position (not the PERSON) is classified as non-exempt. A lot of managers want to classify the person as exempt, but it's the position. If senior management doesn't take the advice of HR, you have 2 choices - document it to CYA or walk. Usually, new positions, etc require the approval of Corporate HR or the Regional HR VP and they will call you on an improperly classed position.
Jim-what's your take or prediction on the future of ContentOne? Sink or swim?
In one form or another, it's here to stay. It fits too well with the slow-mo merger of USA Today and the U.S. community dailies -- plus the consolidation of page design and production at those same papers.
Content One is a JOKEIt does nothing for our site, for print or online. We can't even figure out what it's supposed to do.
11:51 PM said: H.R. at Gannett sites typically advise department managers to "promote" people to a b.s. title that is an exempt position. One that carries no raise and makes the employee no longer eligible for OT. But the actual job is exactly what they did before and does not involve management duties or direct supervision of others.8:01 AM said: 11:51 you have no idea what you are talking about. I've been in HR for years and I challenge you to provide a real example of where that happened. Corporate would hand me my ass if I let that happened. To be fair have mistakes happened? Maybe. But a concerted campaign to defraud people and violate Federal law Bullshit!-------It's true. Happened to me. Worked a ton of OT for months on end. Then one day given a "promotion," a change in title but no raise, and was told that I'd be exempt. In all, a net loss.
Oh YAHOO! It might be ok for the big markets with clients who can afford it. If the local websites can't sell out all of their online inventory because client's can't afford it what makes them think they'll get anywhere with Yahoo (which is alot more expensive). Can't wait until I find another job and can leave this totally unorganized mess of a company.
Yep, that "promoting" to a so-called "exempt" job that's the same as the previous job is a long-time trick in the Gannett play book.They've done that for years here in Westchester, and I mean for decades. The DOL came in about 15 years ago and Gannett cut checks in the thousands to a lot of employees who were systematically cheated out of OT.Anyone in the so-called "human" resources dept who doesn't know this is either a new hire, an idiot or a co-conspirator.Want to end this? When your work day's over say you need OT. If the supervisor refuses, you leave. If he/she threatens you in any way, call your lawyer immediately. Don't be afraid to lose your job. Go above your supervisor and let the publisher in on it. And call your lawyer again.And yeah, document everything and have your lawyer call the DOL.And only take a lawyer who will work on a contingency basis. If they only get a pay day if you do, they work harder.
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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."
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