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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bay Area News Group memo regarding furloughs


From: Crooks, Alison
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:06 PM
To: &EB All
Subject: Employee furlough

Importance: High

January 28, 2009

Dear BANG-EB Employee:

In a further effort to help offset the continuing decline in revenue and position the company for future financial success while mitigating further job losses, I am announcing the implementation of a mandatory one (1) week furlough for employees to be scheduled during the period beginning February 1, 2009 and running through the month of March. All executives and management of the Company will be included. Each employee’s department head will determine the actual week an employee is furloughed.

I realize that we are all working hard to overcome this difficult time. I know this action will create a strain on our personal budgets, and unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that a furlough will prevent any further layoffs. However, from what I am hearing across our company… “a brief period without pay is better than many more layoffs.”

This is not to trivialize the serious nature of furloughs. Implementing unpaid furloughs is indeed a very serious step. This furlough action is unprecedented for our company. But, I am hopeful that an unpaid furlough will go a long way toward keeping future layoffs, if any, to a minimum.

Over the next few days, your department heads will meet with you to further explain the furlough process and how people will be scheduled. A Q&A sheet is being prepared for distribution. Your human resources contact will be available to assist you and your supervisors. Personal situations will be considered based on seniority and the operational needs of the company. But, such considerations should only influence when a person’s furlough begins and ends, not if a person will or will not be excused from a furlough.

As always, our customers remain our highest priority. Through your dedicated efforts, we have continued to publish quality newspapers and to produce top-notch websites. Our challenge is to assure that we remain a strong company and continue to develop innovative new products which provide value-added for our customers.

Employees who work under a labor agreement will be advised by their union representatives as to the outcome of management’s discussions with their union. All current labor agreements provide for layoffs. I am confident that our unions will agree to unpaid furloughs as a means of avoiding layoffs, to the degree that can be accomplished.

At this time, it is important to understand that we, like many media and other companies, are facing significant financial challenges due to the deep recession. We are not the first and we certainly won’t be the last to implement furloughs or take similar steps in order to address these challenges and keep our financial houses in order. We take these actions on our own because we can and we should…for the long term good of our customers and ourselves.

Thank you for your understanding, your support and your dedication.

Sincerely,
David Rounds
President and Publisher
Bay Area News Group-East Bay

SOURCE: Jim Romenesko

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