Sunday, August 17, 2008

Text of Corporate's layoff instructions to publishers

Position Reductions in U.S. Community Publishing

Due to the difficult business conditions, USCP Division management is reducing positions across all levels.

• Division management gives each site a reduced payroll dollar amount they must meet based on:
Unit’s financial performance
Previous reductions
• Sites decide how to reach this payroll reduction:
By not filling vacancies.
Through normal resignations and retirements.
And in most cases by laying off some existing employees.
• Division management with corporate must approve the site-submitted reductions
Protecting our content creation and sales capacity.
Assuring the reductions are consistent with the company’s strategic direction.
• Sites communicate the approved reductions to their affected employees

Estimated number of USCP position losses
• The payroll reduction amount translates roughly into 1,000 fewer positions in USCP
• Probably requiring around 600 people to be laid off
• Approximately 3% of USCP current positions

• By August 15th publishers send a letter to all their employees:
Explaining, in their own words, the points made in this communication.
Telling their employees the number of layoffs at their particular site.
Giving a date, or range of dates, when their employees will leave the company.

Severance Benefits
• One week of pay for each year of service (52-week maximum)
• Minimum two-week severance benefit
• Medical benefits will continue for the length of the severance period
• Employees laid off may begin receiving their pension plan and 401(k) benefits (depending on applicable laws)
• Government unemployment benefits may also begin after severance benefits end,
depending on state law

More job reductions to come?
• We would prefer no more reductions, but…
We must keep expenses in line with revenue.
If advertising and circulation revenues continue to decline, further payroll reductions may be necessary.
• This communication is about a particular USCP payroll reduction effort
Job reductions resulting from other changes throughout Gannett are not
included in this communication (such as the current project in accounting and finance to centralize some activities in two national shared services centers).

• These people leaving Gannett contributed to its growth and success
• We will thank them for their years of service and treat them in a way that acknowledges their valuable contributions


  1. An answer which never seems to be included in these letters from Corporate concerns the employees who have (or will) accept "voluntary buyouts".

    I have unsuccessfully tried to have this question answered, and I am hoping that someone who has already "walked the walk" can advise me.

    At the end of the severance pay with a voluntary buyout, are unemployment benefits paid in New Jersey? In addition, would a rolled over lump sum pension benefit reduce or eliminate unemployment benefits?

    Since so many of us are in the same boat, this question's answer will help many.

    Thanks...and better days for ALL!

  2. My understanding is that if it's a voluntary buyout, you would not get unemployment benefits. You are basically resigning at the end of the salary continuance. A person that's laid off would be eligible for unemployment benefits at the end of the severance package. To make sure, you should check with the HR professional at the paper you were at last because state laws may apply.

  3. Do the really expect advertising and circulation revenues to not drop more as we 1. cut postions that directly drive revenue 2, raise the price of the newspapers (with less content) which will in fact increase circ revenue, but what will advertisers do as they see the volumes drop? What else have others seen that will decrease revenue?

  4. Re unemployment comp: The answer varies state by state. It is very important to go directly to the agency that administers comp in your state to find the answers.

    In Ohio, voluntary buyouts do NOT exclude you from unemployment comp, when they are accompanied by the prospect of later layoffs -- as these buyouts are.

    However, your severance payments are deducted from your benefits, and in many cases the severance is going to be more than the comp.

    You can apply for unemployment after the severance ends, but in my case that will be too long after the required work-credits period.

    It's complicated. So do your research on this. Do Not Wait for HR.

  5. In response to my New Jersey brother (or sister)...

    Your HR department contacts the UE people and starts your claim. Make sure your HR people state that your position "was eliminated"
    It makes all the difference for possible benefits.
    This is the state web site and may help you plan for your future.

    The lump sum roll over into your IRA will nor affect your UE benefits. Make sure Gannett makes the check out to your IRA company, not to you. (tax reasons) Check with your finncial advisor...

    Best of Luck

  6. Why are there so many job openings (more than 100 for community newspaper division) posted for Gannett and will the people who are having their jobs eliminated be given priority for the openings?

  7. "These people leaving Gannett contributed to its growth and success"

    So why are you canning them?

    Oh, yeah, you crapped all over their hard work and screwed up the company. Who should go...?

  8. If all the publishers (which there are way too many anyways for community papers) were to take a 10% pay cut, no one would have to loose their jobs! Hell they are making six figures anyway!! Our publisher just moved from Arizona and just bought a very expensive home in a richy part of town and talks about their outside kitchen and if you only knew how much it cost to put it in!!!! At the rate of the layoffs, we who got laid off will be lucky to even have a indoor kitchen unless its the local soup kitchen. Ever notice The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer?!! Gannett can suck my BLEEP!!


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