Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We Won't Lay You Off, We Just Won't Pay You

Media General Giving Employees Two More Weeks of "Vacation"

Maybe it has already cut its staff to the bone so layoffs are out of the question at its newspapers. Still, Media General says in lieu of more reductions, it'll require employees at its newspapers -- including the Tampa Tribune and Richmond Times-Dispatch -- and TV stations to go on unpaid furlough for 10 days.
In other words, two weeks of pay employees might have otherwise expected to get have gone bye-bye.
Gannett employees, by contrast, suddenly and uncharacteristically have it good. They only had to take a one-week furlough. At least for now.
And in case Media General employees weren't feeling enough pain, their 401k match will leave the building starting April 1. With that perk, though, they have plenty of company. The Bergen Record and New York Daily News announced similar moves in recent days.
As Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer, obfuscated: "Despite aggressive sales initiatives and significant cost reductions already implemented, we need to build in additional expense savings to offset the revenue shortfalls we anticipate."
Fear not. Shareholders will also feel the pain, as MEG is suspending its dividend.
The company says all this will help shave $28 million from what it owes. Chances are few employees expect that'll be nearly enough.

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