Day 3: Cincy braces for buyouts; layoffs in Phoenix?Employees vent: ‘felt very much like a hit and run’

Layoff Week grinds on for more than 30,000 newspaper employees, waiting to learn whether they’re among 600 getting laid off. “I just can’t imagine a business surviving when employees have to come to work everyday, wondering if that will be the last,” a reader says. Plus: We’re watching Gannett’s stock all day. Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET:

Cincinnati: Editor Tom Callinan is talking to Enquirer editors about “possible scenarios” as Friday’s deadline for 50 companywide buyout applications draws closer. “But we really won’t know what the future will hold until we see who is on the final list on Friday,” local blogger Newsache quotes Callinan telling staff.

Indianapolis: Seven newsroom employees were laid off, according to Indiana blogger Ruth Holladay. They were notified by top editor Dennis Ryerson, “in person or through a telephone call,” Holladay says. They were among a reported 20 — down from an initial 23 — cut loose from the 1,440-employee paper, readers here say.

Montgomery, Ala.: “Checking in from Montgomery,” a reader says. “We’ve been told (per the publisher’s letter last week) that the layoffs will come down tomorrow, the 20th. I’m sure those of us working at the Advertiser will keep everyone here posted throughout the day.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning paper is slated to lay off 10 of about 375 employees. Editor Wanda Lloyd told the newsroom in an 8 p.m. e-mail last night: “I know all of you are anxious about tomorrow. Let’s plan to get together in the middle of the room for a brief staff meeting at 4 p.m. to talk about the future.”

Phoenix: Two reports that 35 workers are being laid off from The Arizona Republic‘s pressroom. “The other ‘common workers’ are getting thrown out without a buyout!” one reader says. “Shame on the Republic management!!” Like the Enquirer, the Republic has delayed any layoffs, pending responses to a buyout offer. I still don’t know how many offers are on the table, however. Plus, were the buyouts only for certain employees — such as those in the newsroom? Why wouldn’t pressroom employees be eligible, too?

Across Gannett: Angry employees slammed newspaper division chief Bob Dickey (left) and other top brass for taking too long to identify those getting laid off. “Absolutely horrible, waiting to find out who the next casualty was,” a reader said, late last night, in one of more than 150 comments. “The way that management carried this out felt very much like a hit and run.”

On Wall Street: What’s next for Gannett shares? We brace ourselves for the 9:30 opening of stock markets this morning — a day after GCI plunged 4.6%, erasing what little was left of the layoff bump.

More on Gannett Blog

  • Day 2: More agony for jittery newspaper employees
  • Day 1: Gannett launches one of industry’s biggest mass layoffs
  • Roll call: Our exclusive paper-by-paper list of job cuts
  • Protect yourself: Advice for threatened workers

Post latest developments about your paper, plus publishers’ memos, other tips, in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: today’s Enquirer front page, Newseum]

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47 Responses to “Day 3: Cincy braces for buyouts; layoffs in Phoenix?Employees vent: ‘felt very much like a hit and run’”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I hear that there are still more layoffs today in Asbury.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Re 8:26AM: God I hope so!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    In Phx., upper Mgmt. knows that the business is cyclical because of “snowbirds” (winter visitors.) Readership and advertising always takes a jump in the fall however they are cutting now and not planning for even the near, very near future. Gannett wants cuts… They have taken a once great newspaper in The Arizona Republic and are driving it right into the GROUND!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    One thing I’d like to add… I’m a gannett gruntling… Not a exec… But several months back we all griped that we wanted to know if layoffs were coming and wanted some advance notice if that were true… Now when we’re given notice of layoffs there are gripes about that also… I don’t understand why they’re waiting up to 2 weeks to tell people, but at least they’re not just walking in on a Friday and laying off 600 people… I would rather have it this way… Yes it sucks not knowing if it’s going to be ME… but EVERYONE of us should be preparing as if we were to walk into our last day… We realize what’s going on and need to do something about it… just my .02 cents…

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Is today really the last layoff day? Rumor at my site is that the axe will come down tomorrow.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I just can’t imagine a business surviving when employees have to come to work everyday, wondering if that will be the last.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Re Anon 5:58
    Buyouts at the Republic are not for management only. Lots of experienced reporters in the zones, real worker bees who keep those sections afloat, are being forced out.

    I still don’t understand how this is anything but blatant age discrimination.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Did anyone get a list of the eliminated jobs by age of the person in the job? Did anyone ask for that list? If you did, please share what they told you when they laid you off. Thanks.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Could this have been handled more poorly?

    Tell people a week in advance that cuts are coming … so we all can wait in agony?

    It’s an embarrassment.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    What management school did these people go to? Drag out the bad news as long as possible, tell everyone that cuts are coming, make everyone miserable. Someone said a few days ago these are the adults who as kids got a kick out of pulling the wings off of flies and watching them die in misery. I believe it, I really do.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    “I just can’t imagine a business surviving when employees have to come to work everyday, wondering if that will be the last.”

    —-

    last fall i was pretty close to getting cut. they did it based on seniority and they let go of the two people below me.

    so i’ve been coming to work every day since then thinking… well. this could be my last day.

    so besides having another job lined up, i’m fairly prepared. at least mentally.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Nashville is having a staff meeting at 10 a.m. Cuts to be announced soon.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Just think Finance folks have to wonder everyday as another 275 FTE will lose jobs because of the Finance consolidation; it’s estimated by the end of the year. Memos were sent to top Finance Execs to newspaper sights not yet using a RSCC.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    If I was in charge of layoffs, I would at least make sure that the specific contributions of each person to the newspaper product were acknowledged, publicly and in writing, so that there is not a feeling of personal failure or wrongdoing. I would also make sure that human resources was pushed to assist workers fully with any issues or problems. I would offer to write recommendations. Finally, I would give people at least 48 hours in which to clear out their computers and desks. Other companies do not shove laid-off workers immediately out the door.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Exactly right, 11:02 am. Get it done quickly and humanely, but give the laid-off employee enough time to take away his or her belongings, if necessary. Human resources are treating this as a firing, but it is not. While there are going to be hurt feelings, a little sympathy is necessary here giving employees time to adjust. I doubt if many would take the extra time to clean out their desks, but what would it hurt to offer it? It’s the thought that counts, and they are both heartless and thoughtless on this one, IMO.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    “If I was in charge of layoffs, I would….” get sued.

    Some of this poor handling (certainly not all) is almost certainly done to cover the company’s butt from litigation. Being humane can be dangerous these days.

    Just a thought. Not trying to be argumentative at all. This sucks.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Cut from The Tennessean newsroom — long time staffer Marni Truelove, video editor and former graphics editor Leavett Biles, and library worker Tina Keith.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    11:18, yes there is fear of lawsuits, likely unwarranted. 99.99 percent of people will not sue because they want decent references and recommendations. Liability is an excuse.
    There are moral obligations in life to treat people fairly and respectfully, the way you would like to be treated. Which do you think Gannett has chosen?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    The suit argument is spurious. What legal action could a laid off employee take if they got an extra few days to clean out their desks? I see this only as a one-size-fits-all reaction where Human Resources says we do this when people are fired, so it applies here, too. Management is too rigid to think properly in these situations. I also don’t think many would come back to clean their desks after leaving under these circumstances, so the extra time would only be a compassionate offer.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    So the behavior that most troubles people — other than the layoffs themselves — is that folks aren’t given enough time to clean off their desks? That seems like a pretty easy thing for management to fix.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    @ 9:57 AM – “Has anyone heard any more about Louisville…”

    2 layoffs in the newsroom, and all open positions eliminated.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    It’s so funny. Bob Dickey comes off as being this great, smart, do the right thing guy. He is actually an ignorant, inexperienced bafoon. He has no clue how to run the division. He surronds himself with people he has known forever (that aren’t that great either) and we get the same crap out of the “executive team”. When will the company realize that the wrong decisions have been made AGAIN! Yeah the market is bad, the economy sucks, media is changing. We get all that. But to compund it with horrible management and leadership from the top? If he is the best thing we have got then run like the wind and get out quickly.
    No one really mentioned that all of htese positions are being eliminated BUT Dickey added 2 executive positions to HIS staff. Krans and one other can’t remember his name. How come no one brings this up? So we are cutting the crap out of our expense budgets, eliminating people, no travel etc, but he ads 2 VERY expensive executive positions? Why hasn’t anyone noticed and take action on this unjustice?

  23. Anonymous Says:

    If I had to handle layoffs, here are a few things I’d do that my newspaper didn’t do.

    a.) I’d talk with people. Email is not the correct avenue.

    b.) If I was a new publisher, I wouldn’t let my first company-wide email be a layoff announcement. (My publisher has been here two months)

    c.) Long before this day came, I’d have done everything possible to build an organization that gave a shit. The place I work — and it’s not big at all — is remarkably cold. There is no we’re-all-in-this-together feeling. If you build that kind of spirit and bad things happen, things probably seem more tolerable. That’s how it worked for my wife, who dealt with layoffs while working for a huge corporation.

    d.) I’d do everything possible to promote the fact that “laid off” is not the same as “fired” … and that it sucks to see useful, valuable employees leave.

    Dropping a copy-and-paste tome into a form email doesn’t work.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    12:46, You make very good points. When will corporate start letting the individual papers run their businesses and stop dictating who should stay and who should go. Just because someone is your friend and you’ve known them a long time doesn’t make them competent. It’s favoritism, is what it is, and it has no place in the business world. Let’s start making decisions based on competence, and not friendships.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    “c.) Long before this day came, I’d have done everything possible to build an organization that gave a shit. The place I work — and it’s not big at all — is remarkably cold. There is no we’re-all-in-this-together feeling. If you build that kind of spirit and bad things happen, things probably seem more tolerable. That’s how it worked for my wife, who dealt with layoffs while working for a huge corporation.”

    Gannett is still clueless. Maybe they’ll figure it out when they start losing their best people due to all this bullshit and not the layoffs.

  26. Mr. Yesterday Says:

    Anon 1:19 sez:”Maybe they’ll figure it out when they start losing their best people due to all this bullshit and not the layoffs.

    Uh…start?

  27. Anonymous Says:

    9:57, can you give us further details?

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 1:19 sez:”Maybe they’ll figure it out when they start losing their best people due to all this bullshit and not the layoffs.”

    Uh…start?

    Right! They have been leaving. All over the place. From top editors to corporate VP’s. It’s horrible. The organization is in a tail spin and they won’t admit it and or do anything about it. Can they be any more stupid????????

  29. Anonymous Says:

    3:24 PM
    I think you have a valid point. I too wonder how Gannett can get by with having a centralized HR that dictates cuts, but localized management that, if what you’re saying is true, can determine who gets what. When it’s all said and done, maybe we can pull together a list that will illustrate this.

    Oh, and even though I was a reporter, my favoirte place was in the pressroom, watching the workers turn out the product!

  30. Anonymous Says:

    annon 3.24 thank you I always wanted to be a “clark kent”! LOL

  31. Anonymous Says:

    I will state this clearly “read my lips”! In the “pressroom” at the “Arizona Republic” the only “buyouts” where in management! The regular 35 people are getting laid off with no severance! Thrown out on their asses after years of service! Hit the pike spike!

  32. Anonymous Says:

    When is layoff day, Anon 3:46 PM?

  33. Anonymous Says:

    They will be laid off within two weeks! The union had a meeting and I can’t imagine what they told them! I am wondering if the company has sent them anything like a letter. No meeting I know that! Very dismal and cold atmosphere…….unbelievable!

  34. Anonymous Says:

    KXTV layoffs coming Friday. Cuts will be deep.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    When they start press room layoffs they had better place all the wrenches and other tools under lock and key. I know what I would do with them…..lol

  36. Anonymous Says:

    In Tucson we aren’t going to know which 15 or so get the pink slips until next week. Woo-hoo.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    At Tysons today, I heard that Dubow is pulling the Neuharth Royalty act now when he vacations. He goes to remote, high end mountain resorts and expects a circulation lackey to deliver USA Today, NY Times, WSJ, Financial Times and Barron’s at his doorstep by 6 AM. To make matters worse; the remote, life of the rich and famous areas where he vacations don’t receive any of these papers, best case scenario, until between 7 AM and 10AM. This means some poor soul has to have drive several hours in the night to ensure the 8 million dollar man has something to read over breakfast. With this type of leadership it will be interesting to see which hits rock bottom first, our stock or the morale of entire company.

  38. Anonymous Says:

    I’d say the morale already hit bottom.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    If the people in Phoenix were wise, they would run from the new guy trying to lead ad sales – run fast, he’s taking you down with him.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Hoping they’ll pink-slip Keira Nothaft at the Republic. Worst “manager” ever.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    (ARIZONA REPUBLIC) Speaking of the ad sales guys, are they being cut like the IC? Talk about managers that sit around and do nothing. The sales managers in the Scottsdale office leave at 5pm every day! Don’t they have ads to sell?

  42. Anonymous Says:

    I think they ought to close all the newspapers and just print the “USA today” that way we can show communist russia that we are democratic and have fredom of the press! Smells fishy of corporate cronies!!

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Thank your union steward for this one: In my unit, per contract, a laid off union employee gets two weeks pay. Been here 38 years or 38 minutes, same deal.

    When the contract came up last year, our steward asked only if Gannett would punch up the 401(k). He was told ‘no’, said ‘alrighty’ and signed it.

    This was AFTER someone had been laid off, and would have gotten nearly a year paid had he been out of the union.

    I trust management to do right by me more than the string of CWA dinks that take my wages and support the wrong candidates.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    Anon @ 8:36am said… “Thank your union steward for this one: In my unit, per contract…”

    Are you a member of CWA? Doesn’t sound like it. Clarification please.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    In Brevard the Publisher sent out a memo on a Friday saying layoffs of 11 would take place by the following Wednesday! He should have just looked down the hall and asked why Watson was still there. Could it be the name? It’s certainly not what he brings to the table, what does he do anyway? The morale is so bad there it’s just unbelievable. Talk about the Titantic!

  46. Anonymous Says:

    WHAT ABOUT THE LITTLE GUY. AZ REPUBLIC LET 4 PEOPLE FROM HOUSEKEEPING GO. WITH RUMORS ABOUT MORE CUTS TO COME BUT UNSURE FROM WERE.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    Note to management at The Arizona Republic- “Times are tough and tough decisions need to be made” is not a plan. I’ve seen fellow employees fired and I hear the same stupid comment. Firing people is not a plan! It’s sometimes the result of very poor planning. There’s no shortage of meetings in Phoenix, perhaps someone should spend a few minutes during one to have what could be presented as a plan. A simple idea, a thought that pertains to business and how it effects employees. Something…Anything… C’mon, make something up. Pick a day next week to sound like a smart, informed manager people would like to work for.

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