As newspaper revenues plunge amid pandemic Lee Enterprises, Gannett request furloughs

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Lee Enterprises and Gannett are asking United Media Guild (UMG) members to agree to furloughs during the next three months with the companies suffering big financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Lee is asking our members to accept two weeks of unpaid furlough during the next three months,” Media Guild President Jeff Gordon said in a message to members on the UMG website. “This company is seeking 15 percent savings in labor costs for the next three months. This impacts our members at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Southern Illinoisan.

“Gannett is asking our members who make more than $38,000 per year to take three weeks of unpaid leave during the next three months,” Gordon said. “This impacts our members at the Peoria Journal Star, State Journal-Register, Pekin Daily Times, Rockford Register Star and Springfield News-Leader.

Non-union employees, managers and executives at both companies will also suffer pay reductions during the next three months.

“These companies can’t unilaterally impose the furloughs on our members where we have collective bargaining agreements, they have to bargain with us.” Gordon said. “But given the dire circumstances our industry faces and – as well as the companies’ power to inflict layoffs if needed – we must work with them to find the best resolution for our members.”


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