Enquirer Announces Layoffs

Here we go again.

After getting her marching orders from parent company executives, Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan told newspaper employees that more layoffs would occur, probably this afternoon.

Reliable sources say between 15 and 18 people would be terminated from Greater Cincinnati's only remaining daily newspaper. Overall, about 2 percent of The Gannett Co.'s total workforce will be eliminated in the latest downsizing.—-

Also, another round of unpaid furloughs will occur for some of those who remain.

Although we are achieving success and results in many areas, we continue to be challenged by this difficult economy,” Buchanan wrote today in a memo to employees.

National advertising remains very soft, while we have also recently seen a softening in auto and slow job growth. So, unfortunately, Cincinnati will be impacted by these reductions,” it added. “I can assure you that we tried to find as many non-payroll savings as possible, but unfortunately it was necessary to find efficiencies through restructures and staffing reductions. This is very difficult for everyone. There were no easy decisions and we recognize how difficult this is on employees and families. Our plan is to reach employees impacted by these reductions as quickly and possible today and to let employees know when we are done.”

Buchanan's announcement followed a companywide message sent by Robert J. Dickey, Gannett's U.S. newspaper division president.

As we reach the mid-point of the year, the economic recovery is not happening as quickly or favorably as we had hoped and continues to impact our U.S. community media organizations,” he wrote.

Dickey added, “While we have sought many ways to reduce costs, I regret to tell you that we will not be able to avoid layoffs. Accordingly, approximately 700 employees within (our division), or about 2 percent of our company’s overall workforce, will be let go … in an effort to reduce the number of people being let go, there will be furloughs in the coming months but they will be limited only to those on the (division) corporate payroll who make over a certain salary. You will be notified by your publisher if you are among this group.”

Strangely, for a company whose purpose is to distribute information to the public, Dickey's memo includes the following warning: “CONFIDENTIAL; CONTAINS PROPRIETARY BUSINESS INFORMATION - NOT FOR PUBLIC DISSEMINATION.”

Some Enquirer employees already had to take a five-day furlough during 2011's first quarter.

In spring 2010 Gannett announced a furlough program that required most non-unionized workers to take at least five days of unpaid leave sometime in April, May or June. The move saved the company about $20 million. Also, executives announced a similar furlough in 2010's first quarter, prompted by declining stock prices and advertising revenues.

More than 1,200 employees were laid off at Gannett's newspaper holdings nationwide in 2009, including 101 people at The Enquirer.

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