Most Detroit Media Partnership employees, including those at the Gannett-owned Detroit Free Press, have just been told to take one-week unpaid furloughs.
That raises a question about whether USA Today employees also would be required to take an unpaid week off. Why? The Freep and USAT are in their own division, separate from the other 80 papers in the U.S. community publishing unit.
I suspect that USAT doesn't move in lockstep with the Freep, however, even though USAT's top two executives have come directly from Detroit. They are Publisher Dave Hunke and General Manager Susie Ellwood, who as basically deputy publisher is in charge of daily operations.
Currently, only certain highly-paid community newspaper employees are on furlough, continuing a cost-cutting move that began in the second quarter. Virtually all newspaper division employees were furloughed during the first quarter.
Paul Anger, the Freep's editor and publisher, e-mailed this to the newsroom Tuesday afternoon:
Free Press folks:
We continue to face uncertain, challenging economic times, and we’re making some expense reductions. Please know that all managers and other non-bargaining unit employees have been notified that they will be furloughed for five business days between now and the end of the year. We are also reducing some items in our non-payroll expense budget, and managers will have more details on that soon.
At the Detroit Media Partnership, Joyce Jenereaux has notified all non-bargaining unit staff and employees that they will also be taking furloughs this year.
Although these furloughs do not affect bargaining unit employees, everyone should be aware that there are strict guidelines that prevent any work whatsoever -- or work-related conversations or any contact with the office -- involving those on furlough.
Each Free Press department will be looking carefully at any impact on vacations and how to plan our furloughs. We’ll have to look carefully and plan well ahead regarding the schedules of all Free Pressers. Avoiding overtime will be especially important, except for emergencies and breaking news.
Thanks for your patience, all of your hard and great work, and what you contribute every day to the Free Press.
USAT staffers: What are you hearing? 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.