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The nation's largest newspaper chain, Gannett, owner of the Springfield News-Leader in my corner of Missouri and USA Today, is at it again.

The newspaper chain, which has become notorious in recent years for awarding sky-high bonuses to its top executives while forcing all of its workers to go without pay two weeks each year, is firing 200 employees just before Christmas and telling readers that it will make their newspapers better.

Gannett filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday announcing its intention to shut down its Cincinnati printing plant, eliminating 200 jobs, and outsourcing the printing for Gannett's Cincinnati Enquirer and Kentucky Enquirer to the company that owns the Columbus Dispatch. And while the filing indicates the outsourcing is "possible," the fact that it has reached this stage indicates it is a done deal.

The filing contains the following Gannett spin:

Use of the Columbus printing facility will enable The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Kentucky Enquirer to adopt a new and easy-to-use format, with improved graphics including fuller use of color and photographs.

The costs of operating the Columbus printing facility will be shared by the parties to the Agreement, resulting in efficiencies and costs savings for the Company.

The transition of operations could take up to twelve months to complete. In connection with these actions, the Company estimates that it will incur between $55 million and $59 million in costs and charges. These items include severance costs and charges related to the partial withdrawal from multiemployer pension plans which together will range from $38 million to $42 million and will result in future cash expenditures. In addition, the Company will recognize accelerated depreciation charges on its current printing facilities of approximately $17 million.

The announcement comes just a few short weeks after former Gannett CEO Craig Dubow stepped down. While the printing plant workers will likely receive enough to keep them afloat for a short time, Dubow left with a $37.1 million severance package.

According to an earlier proxy statement filed with the SEC, which I wrote about in my blog, The Turner Report, on March 25, Dubow was guaranteed that amount if he stepped down due to a disability If he had simply retired or quit, he would have "only" received $22 million.

Isn't it about time for an Occupy Gannett movement?

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Comment Preferences

  •  If the Amendment Read: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, raster44, bnasley

    "Congress shall make no law...infringing on ... the freedom of the used car dealer" everyone would know what kind of corporate behavior to expect.

    Doesn't matter whether the corporation takes in automobiles, cleans them up and sells them, or facts. It's all the same motivations, rewards, risks, and behavior.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 04:35:05 PM PST

  •  it is time to get those 200 employees (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jts327

    together online and create there own newspaper.....

    subscription costs, less than half of gannet's....

    no time to feel sorry.....

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 05:10:02 PM PST

    •  Do You Really Think That... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      debedb

      employees that used to run printing presses really have the skills to start an online newspaper.  Get real.

      •  all 200 ran presses.........?..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jts327

        anyway typecasting (no pun intended) is not a good solution to these employees.....

        sounds like you are saying they have no skills other than to run printing presses.....or some other form of manual labor......

        you get real and stop your lowbrowing......

        The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

        by Mindmover on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:22:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's the printing plant that is shut down. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          in the Trees

          No doubt there were clerical and other support staff affected. But it's the printing press that is closed, not the entire newspaper.

          So it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the majority of affected employees are in fact press workers. In any event, they are not reporters, photographers, editors, advertising sales reps, etc. It is neither snobbish nor irrational to think that the skill set they can transfer immediately to another job, without new training or education, is press work.

          You might want to check your own bigotry, by the way. Running a printing press is not manual labor. It's skilled labor that requires training and apprenticeship. Working a press used to be a good union job, but that may have changed since I left the newspaper business in the 90s.

          For that matter, manual labor is "less than" only in pay. Whether a person digs ditches or runs a printing press or edits copy, it's still honest labor.

          Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

          by susanala on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 03:57:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  God rest ye merry, gentlemen... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley

    I've always thought firing somebody in Winter is pretty darn sleazy.  At least wait til spring, when people can actually survive not paying for heating/cooling for a while.

  •  Unless things have changed, (0+ / 0-)

      I recall the Cinci Enquirer as a despicable right-wing rag with an editorial page that reeked like a dungheap.

       So without passing any judgment on the innocents who have lost their jobs, there may be a certain degree of irony for a few now off the payroll.

  •  These are people who do the printing. Not (0+ / 0-)

    the editors and reporters.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 07:14:12 PM PST

  •  This Is Not An Uncommon Occurance... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    susanala

    I was raised in St. Louis, and competing newspapers, the Post and the Globe were printed on the same presses.  One was a morning paper and one was an afternoon paper.  Very efficient.

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