Sunday | Aug. 31 | Got news, or a question?

Can’t find an appropriate place for your comment? Write it, in this open post. Real Time Comments: here, 24/7. (Earlier editions.)

32 Responses to “Sunday | Aug. 31 | Got news, or a question?”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    To keep things fresh, I’ve just started this new open-comments string. You can always return to earlier editions by clicking on the Real Time Comments label in the blue sidebar, to the right.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    In Salem, this last week, we got an email from our publisher about a program where employees can donate to a disaster relief fund for fellow employees. I’m guessing this was maybe in anticipation of the hurricane that’s barreling down on the Gulf. However, it was also unfortunately timed to come out not long after the companywide layoffs. Some of us were — in the spirit of gallows humor — joking about whether we should email the publisher and offer to donate to help our recently laid off compatriots.

    Anybody else have an email go around like that from their publishers this past week?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    No, but in Cherry Hill we received a memo on Wednesday that due to a bank switch, our direct deposit paychecks are no longer guaranteed to be in our banks the day on payday. Bank of America is saying it’ll take 48 hours for the monies to appear in our accounts.

    But pay no attention to that…we’re getting new carpet. Yay.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Cherry Hill,
    Sounds like there may be a legal issue here. You’re money is supposed to be availble to you on the day you are paid. If they cannot do this through direct deposit, I believe they have to make a physical check available to you on pay day … not two days after the fact.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    It actually ran in the Executive News Summary the week the layoffs were announced;

    Help needed to strengthen employee disaster relief fund
    Gannett’s G.I.V.E/Lend-a-Hand needs help in strengthening the “Employee Disaster Relief Fund.” To make a contribution, employees can make a donation, purchase “Gannett Colleagues Who Care” bracelets (minimum cost is $1) and/or G.I.V.E. cookbooks ($15) through the secure Colleagues Who Care Web site (click here to donate) that allows for credit card purchases and donations. Donations cannot be matched by Gannett Foundation but are tax-deductible.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I wonder if anyone has anything encouraging going on at work. At our small paper we work way more than eight hours each day, nobody gets more than a three percent raise each year and, worst of all, editors are just plain mean in reviews. Why stay in this job, even if it’s what we have always wanted to do, when the work environment is so awful?

  7. Anonymous Says:

    OT is determined by your job classification. If you are considered a “professional” you are most likely paid a salary. If you do collect OT then you should get it in this case. I’m betting that in the absence of a CBA you’re considered a professional by state statute and do not have to be paid.
    If you are offered “comp time” in lieu of OT pay it has to be taken in the pay period it was earned. For example if the pay period is every two weeks and ends on Friday and you work 6 hours overtime on Tuesday the comp time has to be before the end of the pay period by Friday before the new pay period begins. If it is not taken in the pay period you have to be paid OT. You cannot bank or save comp time. This is the most common wage and hour violation behind not paying OT at all.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    We’re in Gustav’s path and the salaried employees have been told they are essential, which means we’re supposed to be at work during the worst of the storm.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    OT is not governed by state law. A number of court cases have set the national standards on this as regards editorial personnel.

    Under federal wage-and-hour law, every “non-exempt” employee must be paid OT for working more than 8 hours in any given day.

    “Non-exempt” means non-management, as in you have no hiring and firing authority. Reporters, photographers, copy editors, page designers, artists etc. are non-exempt.

    Track your hours. Report them on your time sheets. If they don’t pay OT, they are in violation of federal law. If they try to tell you or suggest or imply that you must file false time sheets, they are in serious violation of federal law.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Anyone who doesn’t WANT to be at the newspaper when a hurricane hits the town they cover isn’t nuch of a journalist.

    Overtime? That’s the last thing anyone should be thinking about. It’s a calling, people.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Do people and businesses get to pick and choose laws to follow?

    Having “the calling” attitude means the owners/managers get rich. You get tired, abused, broke and emotionally thrilled.

    It would be nice if the bosses actually respected you in the morning.

  12. rmichem Says:

    Sunday, paper> You know the big fat Sunday, papers> The ones with more sections fatter news. Then their the Sunday paper traditions. The ads, that are stuffed, inside Sunday's paper> You know the ones I am talking about, Your local malls, the box stores, Best Buy, City, Target, furniture. Well not one ad insert section in today MANSFIELD, NEWS JOURNAL. Obviously the advertiser, are in support of Gannett laying off,are laying off buying ads. By the way, if any of you Gannett Copy Editors, who got layoff are looking for a job. The Mansfield News Journal, has an ad for one.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Couple things to clarify. States can and do have wage and hour laws. Many have minimum wage which his higher than the federal minimum, and that must be followed. So every state can be different. But I guess if someone wanted to stay home, they surely could. If they can’t get to work, I guess they could take a vacation day or a sick day instead of COVERING a major disaster. I guess.

    I had to laugh at the payroll question. Of course they have to pay you on pay day. Insist on it. But at my paper our checks under the old system came 1 or 2 days ahead of payday, depending on the bank. Now, under the new system, the money is in the account on payday. Period. It’s not illegal, but I know I was breaking some kind of law when I wrote checks on money that was there before payday. I think it’s called Kiting. We ran a story about it a couple years ago where a local administrator was doing the same thing. Cost him his job.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    2:42: Said…
    “Do people and businesses get to pick and choose laws to follow?”

    Only Gannett. They break it, you have to hire a lawyer to fight it.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s how Gannett skirted OT pay when I worked for a small paper. The managers would tell you to cut subsequent days short after a long day or a series of long days. But if you did that and actually went in later than planned or left earlier to avoid OT, you paid dearly for doing that. Believe me. It was a no- win situation that I could have handled, but it got old week after week and month after month.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    There was a comment recently about what Gannett’s intentions are with your 401K monies… Whether they intend to confiscate this money, if they can legally do it or if they’ll just do it and leave it up to the individual employee to fight it. Why wait around for this to happen or why allow Gannett to manage your money (YBR) when they can’t even manage their company anymore? Gannett’s stock is crap… You can make a better return stuffing your money in a mattress. Change your contribution to reflect your confidence in the company you work for. You can do it on-line at YBR or call them at 1-866-343-2333.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I was laid off and I checked my 401K as of the day I got laid off my contribution went to 0. I went online and tried to change it to change it to 5% and it told me that I was not authorized to do so.
    This means that as far as the severance pay goes Gannett is not allowing me to make any contributions so they do not have to match what I am putting in. Is this another screwing from the company?
    To all that got laid off check your 401ks.

  18. Jim Hopkins Says:

    @8:51 am: The same thing happened to me after I took a buyout from USA Today earlier this year.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    So Jim it appears that whether it was a buyout or a layoff the 401k is frozen as of your last day.
    No more contributions and no more matching.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    So if one is payed a severance, is that payment technically paid AFTER your “last day” of employment, therefore not qualifying as a “contribution” to your 401K? Someone please find out the technicality and legality of this issue!!!

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Hope they lay off Mr. Calling. That’s nonsense given the way you’re being treated. Wake up, sheep.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    It is a technical issue: the lump sum payment is not a salary, it is a severance. Actually, I believe a lot of the severance money is coming from newspaper traditional fixed pension plans which, because of the (previous years) stock boom were overfunded before they were frozen for lower-level employees. That is another very complicated issue. But severance is clearly not regular pay, and so not subject to the 401K withdrawal. That is not to say I agree with the way Gannett is doing this, because I do not.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Yep, it’s a calling. Yep, any real journalist should want to be there should a hurricane hit. Should they pay you OT for hours worked? Absolutely. Last I heard, Lincoln freed the slaves…

  24. Anonymous Says:

    The fact that you expect to get OT for hours worked does not make journalism any less a calling for individuals. And, as another person pointed out, the law is very clear: non-exempt personal get OT. Legal cases, most notably one involving the Washington Post, have confirmed this. If they don’t try to pay you for extra hours at the newsroom, file a complaint. Gannett is very nervous about wage-and-hour violations right now, as well it should be with its past history.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    I worked during hurricanes in Fla a few years ago at several Gannett papers and they do in fact pay you overtime for hours worked. Doesn’t matter if its a calling or not, you do get ot if you work……

  26. Anonymous Says:

    IRS does not allow contributions to 401(k) from severance, because they don’t consider it earned income.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    In NJ, you rarely got paid OT for working breaking news or for working assigned hours that exceeded your 37.5 paycheck hours. It’s a calling, yes, but Gannett uses that against you. There were tons of people in NJ who were afraid to put down their OT hours on their timesheets and when they did, they were told to change them. I was on at least two occasions. Complaining to the Labor Department did nothing, because as long as they have your signature on a document saying you only worked x hours, the company wins. Fighting them through the labor dept. got me nowhere because the culture of fear was so inbred that no one wanted to go against Skip. I loved what I did and I worked hard every day. But watching Skip abuse people, including me, despite all of Donovan’s proclamations about changing the culture of fear, drove me out.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Why doesn’t Gannett coordinate storm coverage? Seems like that would be a dandy way to cut down on OT.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    If you’re not exempt, you should get time and a half for overtime, period, end of story, disaster or no disaster, no matter what state you’re in. If the company doesn’t want to pay you, managers have to send you home. I’m a front-line manager caught between the law and people I supervise and higher people who want demands (and who, I have to admit, insist on doing things right — there are managers like that). That said, with a big disaster like a hurricane, anything you do to get the news out on print or online is truly a community service at this time. I remember covering a hurricane — at a non-Gannett paper, but it wouldn’t really matter — and being told afterward that the information and news in the paper were tremendously helpful in the aftermath, especially since radio and TV were out of the question with the power out — or some stations off the air. Plus, merely seeing the paper being published and delivered was one of the few things that told people that things were going to be ok. So take pride in the work now — but get paid for it, too.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    I was a newsroom manager in the NJ group. Upper level management encouraged you to find ways to avoid paying people OT – you were to “adjust their schedule” to send them home early in the week, or encourage comp time. Legally you couldn’t carry comp time over to the next time period, but many reporters WANTED to accumulate some comp time to take long weekends, etc. Everyone who worked for me worked damn hard, and they deserved every minute of their OT. But it was a constant struggle to get reporters OT. When I had the temerity to complain to the EE that I was tired of ripping reporters off by not paying OT, I got my head handed to me big time. So I can understand why the Hattiesburg reporters are apprehensive…

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, are some Gannett sites more ignorant than others? Relatively new to Gannett (Less than 5 yrs) but my site pays straight time for anything over 37.5 and OT for hours over 40. Pure and simple, no ifs ands or buts. Never been told to fudge timecard but do need to get prior OK for non-breaking events. Once worked for small family-owned paper that forced us to work a series of 40+ weeks. Someone (not me) turned them in and US dept. of Labor wages & hours division forced them to pay all of us back OT, for me that was about $400 (1978 dollars). Seems it should be relatively easy to document transgressions and turn the bastards in. After all, some of you are reporters, no?

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Hey 4:07 you should contact me. I have a pending EOC case right now. And if that fails I will keep on trying. I plan on being a thorn in Skippy’s side for as long as possible. I never met a bigger bully that was such a coward. Shoot me an e-mail if you want at

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