Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feb. 13-19 | Your News & Comments: Part 2

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  1. Was wondering with some of the talk about the design hubs, if anyone know how Gannett's studios are doing in comparison to some of the design hubs of other companies, like Tribune's in Chicago, Paxton's in Kentucky, etc...

  2. When the design hubs were first announced, there was talk of bonuses for designers who stayed at the local sites until the transition to the hubs. For those sites whose design has moved to the hubs, were retention bonuses paid?

  3. Many thanks for such a write-up.

    I undoubtedly cherished reading it and talk about this it to my friends.

  4. Bulk:
    That was great for us all,I'm sure.

  5. So are there any educated guesses on how many layoffs there will be after the buyout numbers are sorted out?

  6. Indy Star had ONLY 10 buyout offers. Pub Karen Crotchfelt explained via email that employees covered by the Guild contract weren't eligible because (rancorous) negotiations on a new agreement are ongoing.
    The Guild supposedly informed management that this was a violation of the current working agreement. Since then, there has been no word from either side.
    The Star is already being sued for age discrimination stemming from a previous layoff. Another suit on the way?

  7. In response to the question about a bonus for those laid off by the design hubs: yes, I got a bonus when cut loose in December. Four weeks' pay.

  8. I sure this is just happenstance but a couple of days after buyouts come out, Appleton higher-ups start sending out e-mails to all the staff talking about the wonderful things the paper does.

    Interesting timing, indeed.

  9. 9:12 am. They could avoid layoffs if they would offer the buyout to other people who qualify. There are people in their 60's and over 30 years experience who would take it if offered.

  10. Amen 10:32.
    You would have to be completely out of your mind not to take a lifeboat pass off this Titanic.

  11. If you were laid off when the design studio started up for your sight, you got a bonus. If, however, you were retained, even as a designer who was forced to become a copy editor, no bonus.

  12. fyi: Today received my pension payout by direct deposit. Came in less than three weeks after I mailed in the request. I was laid off two years ago but decided to take it out for fear it might not be there later on. They said initially that it could take up to three months.

  13. 12:33, how did you start the pension payout process? HR? Website?

  14. Re: 12:33. I am curious how you did that. i thought if your pension was over a certain amount you could not take the lump sum? Not sure if it's different with a JOA (Tucson)? No one in Tucson seems to know how this will work since all the benefits were Gannett for the Citizen and JOA employees.

  15. 12:34
    I had a form in the packet I received at my layoff. Just filled it out. Or, you can call and they will send you a form. easypeasy.

  16. Another useless bromide from an ex G editor turned journalism school elite and foundation kiss-up. Geneva Overholser says go hang out with the audience. Nice advice coming from a financially well off 64 year old who can stay in her cushy job as long as she wants. She does not live in the real world - and has not for a long time.


  17. Take the buyout and immediately request the lump sum pension check. Otherwise you're gambling your retirement of maybe $200,000 on the future of a dying company.

  18. make sure if you get a butout offer that you add language that says if a better offer is made within 90 days you get the better of the two offers. i left dec 31st and got a lesser offer and now they won't change it to the new offer lost weeks of pay.

  19. Bear in mind, if you have the pension money sent to a qualified plan, such as a 401-k account, there are no taxes taken out, otherwise 20% is taken off the top and you have to wait until next tax season to recover.

  20. For anyone who hasn't heard, The Courier-Journal in Louisville lost a very good pressman Feb. 13.

    Jerry Meredith, a 30-year veteran, passed away after a heart attack.

    Having worked with Jerry during my tenure at The C-J, and as a commercial customer, he really tried his best to print a good product with dwindling resources and no help from his management.

    R.I.P. my friend. R.I.P.

    1. Jerry was a supervisor in the pressroom. He smoked himself to death because he couldn't deal with the intense pressure to do more, with less.
      His Dad was employed as an electrician and his wife worked in our mailroom.

  21. A forewarning regarding bonuses:

    Here is J. Austin Ryan in a note to publishers regarding USCP Consolidation when it first began back in 2009:

    "We are also working with HR and others here at corporate on retention plans for staff as this project will take numerous months to roll out and it will be important to retain staff during this time and reward them for their efforts."

    Typical Gannett ambiguity, but a reasonable and prevalent conclusion from this statement was: Retain? Don't quit, stick around? You'll be rewarded for having done so? A bonus?

    Come layoffs a year later, there was an epidemic of executive amnesia in this regard when the subject was broached -- even just for clarification as to what "rewarding" staff meant, exactly.

    Even without a bonus, there was no other "reward" either. Just a pause, then "First we heard of that. We'll get back to you."

    We all know how that turned out.

    Three years into it, and given this operation's recent track record, I suspect this time around that some employees will receive a retention bonus... while others won't.

  22. 3:25
    From one fellow Pressman to your buddy, I feel your pain. RIP
    As for dwindling resources, you got that right, like pulling teeth to get an essential item needed to keep operation running smooth. Getting harder and harder..less pressman, worse hours. I use to love to go to work and take great pride in putting out a great product. Those days are over, its all about getting paid. GCI sucked the blood out of all of us in my room

  23. Ryan is a blow hard company yes man, just like the other suits. Fake is his middle name. Guy never put in an honest days work. Take the buy out Mr. Ryan.PLEASE


  24. When the next round of layoffs do occur, will it be too soon for the design studios to be affected?

  25. Concerning pensions, I was laid off last June and immediately we started working to get my pension money out of Gannett's clutches.

    They took the full amount of time required by law to get the information and forms to us. I believe close to ninety days. We took a lump sum and rolled it into our own ira account.

    From the last statement from Gannett detailing what my pension was worth, to when I finally received a check, I had lost 15 grand out of the sum of money I was due.

    Get your money out as soon as you can. Not thinking this would be soon, but if Gannett went broke you would get some money back but they are under no obligation to give you the full amount of whatever your pension was worth.

    We are in control of the money now and need to be very vigilant in how we monitor it. We have made the lost money back in stock purchases. The stock market is risky but so is Gannett.

    Also it wouldn't be far-fetched to consider that Gannett is using your pension money to fund your buy-out.

    Under law they can't touch your 401K money since it's your money and you paid into it. The pension is a company program, they have latitude in how they handle it.

    We'll be liberating our 401k money as well. The amount of return it is making is sad.

  26. I have also been trying to get my pension since June. I have diligently followed up over and over again, but they don't send the paperwork, then they don't send the right paperwork, then they lose the paperwork. The situation has been extremely frustrating. I recommend getting your pension out as quickly as possible, taking careful notes along the way. I don't know if the pension people are incompetent or there is something more malevolent going on, but the process has been a nightmare.

  27. I have to laugh at some of the comments here. Seriously, I laugh. The mis-information is simply unbelievable. First off, when I left Gannett, I filled in my forms and within two months my pension lump sum was sitting in my Vanguard account. Simple as all get out. Having said that, I believe the government has rules on distributions from pension plans, and according to the web site they have a 180 days. The company policy is a lot quicker than that, once you send forms in. There is absolutely no advantage to them keeping your money. They can't use it for anything other than the pension plans. They can't like the wonderful government of ours use the money for buyouts, lunches, chandeliers, whatever. It's in the plan. Simple as that.

    The following statement above is totally inforrect. "They took the full amount of time required by law to get the information and forms to us. I believe close to ninety days. We took a lump sum and rolled it into our own ira account."

    You can not fill in forms, you can leave your pension there, you can roll it over (the important thing here keep keeping the taxes off it).

  28. 8:56, you're not alone. I also come here just to see what people are flinging at the walls.

    There's another poster who says people here don't understand how benefits work. I have to agree.

  29. RIP Jerry,yes he was management but he wasnt the biggest prick there at the CJ probably worried himself to death trying to get the pressman to get out the paper, from an x-pressman

  30. PS for Jerry those 96 steps up to the top deck of that piece of shit kba press probably did him in as supervisors had to rush up there first to see what was causing problems IE web breaks way to go CJ layoff more offer no buyouts to production GEEEEZZZZZZ glad I am out of there

  31. To Mr. Meredith's family and friends in Louisville. Count me among the many Gannett Blog readers who send condolences in memory of a good man who did his job well. He sounds just like the kind of stand-up guy you would want with you in the trenches and during the good times too. May those who survive him find peace. Please be kind and generous with his loved ones.

  32. Crud, I spelled "site" as "sight" up there. Wish I could blame it on drinking, but noon's a little early for that, even on Valentine's day.

    Design hubs - as far as I know, the handful that relocated to the hub got slight bumps up in pay, despite moving to a locale with a significantly lower cost of living.

    As with all things Gannett, there are good people at the hub, who get deadlines and page design, and others who require constant hand-holding, have never seen a newspaper before and/or think a deadline can't possibly apply to them. Mostly, good people, pleasant, humorous and want to do a good job, but stuck in a situation only the Big G could create. Overworked, understaffed, under-trained, bad computer system, etc.

  33. "Deadlines don't apply to them?"

    OMG - we've hired former ad reps to design pages?!


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