Monday, March 23, 2009

10% pay cut is 90% better than laid off...

I've known it was coming for a while and today it finally came. I got to work this morning knowing that something was going to be announced, but not sure what. We got an email that there would be staff meetings during the day - the first at 10 am. We got there early because we figured everyone would be at the first meeting. Sure enough, it was standing room only.

Our Publisher, President and Editor were at the front of the room and it was announced that we were in a crisis and what was going to be shared today was not good news. There will be layoffs of part time people, pay cuts for everyone and forced furloughs (aka days off without pay). We were told that this was what the executive team deemed necessary to get us in the black by the end of the year.

These same announcements happened at Advance Publication/Newhouse papers all over the country. In fact, we had seen a news story on before we even went into the meeting. I guess the furloughs and pension freeze (did I mention the pension freeze? they will be freezing our pension, so what I'm vested now is what I'll get when I am retired), these were Advance wide measures. However, most other properties were doing 10 day furloughs and no pay cuts. We are doing 4 day furloughs and pay cuts. Ugh. I expect every person who works at the paper is spending some time today calculating their budgets and wondering what they can possibly cut out to make up for this loss.

We all knew it was coming, so it wasn't really a surprise and I can't tell if my insides are in a knot from this or still from this past weekend's events, but it sure hurts. I felt like I was at a funeral today and that is so incredibly sad to me.

At the same time, I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to work for Advance - most other papers have layed off much of their staff, cut benefits, frozen 401K matches and reduced salaries. I am still employed, I still have great benefits for myself and my husband (we certainly need those right now) and I still get to say that I work for one of the best papers in the country. I just wish I was confident that I would have that long-term. But as someone I know said recently, "nothing lasts forever".

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