Another mediocre newspaper chain....

Dateline: Sat 14 Mar 2009

is adopting some of the strong-arm techniques of the Gannett chain by instituting furloughs for employees of its newspapers.

The chain is Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., based in Birmingham, Ala. In Indiana, it operates -- not very well -- 11 newspapers in Terre Haute, Anderson, Kokomo, Lebanon, Goshen, Greensburg, Jeffersonville, Logansport, New Albany, Rushville and Washington. (Also, the Hendricks County Flyer -- see comments). Privately owned, the chain was begun in 1997 and is in 150 communities, according to its website.

Employees got the news Wednesday that they will be expected to take furloughs -- voluntary time off with no pay.

The reader who sent along the memo from the company's CEO noted that she/he found the experience of working for CNHI to be a miserable one. "I could write pages full of horror stories...about the paper's pitiful technology and incompetent management."

For the record, here is the memo sent out:

"To: All CNHI Employees

From: Donna Barrett

Subject: Second Quarter Work Schedule Reduction and Pay Reduction

Date: March 11, 2009


The recession continues to negatively impact businesses across the country, including those we rely on for advertising revenue. Until we see meaningful recovery in the economy, we must reduce expenses while maintaining our ability to serve our customers and our readers. We believe we have found a solution that should help us avoid future staff reductions. We have chosen to implement reduced work schedules for hourly employees and reduced work schedules and pay reductions for salaried employees in the second quarter.

The decision was not made lightly. Of all the remaining options available, this will have the least impact on our ability to conduct business while delivering a level of cost savings that protects the company. Most notably, it lessens the likelihood of additional staff reductions, helping us to keep our team intact. We firmly believe this represents the most responsible course as we manage through a difficult time. Our plan is the following:

- A reduced work schedule will be implemented for hourly employees during the second quarter. Employees will take off five days without pay between April 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009. It is expected that no work will be done during this time. This applies to full and part-time employees. Part-time employees' work schedules will be reduced on a prorated basis. These days off must be taken during the second quarter, and must be taken before any regular vacation or personal days. Regular vacation, personal and sick days may not be substituted for these unpaid days off.

- A reduced work schedule will also be implemented for salaried employees during the second quarter with a corresponding reduction in pay. The pay reduction will occur over the six pay periods in the second quarter. In turn, salaried employees will then take five days off from work between April 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009. Under this plan, the days off will not reduce the employees' existing allotment of regular vacation, personal and sick days, but must be taken before any regular vacation or personal days.

Salaried employees may not perform any work during the five days they take off under this plan. This applies to all salaried employees, including myself.

- We are asking our unions to voluntarily agree to similar arrangements

for the employees they represent. If our unions agree, this will help us avoid future layoffs.

- In order to ensure staffing needs are met, the off-days described above must be planned and approved in advance. Please submit the attached request to your manager by March 20.

I am optimistic that with the changes we've made, we will weather the

current storm. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated team. Thank you

for your many contributions."


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