Furloughs at Area Businesses

GE Fanuc and The Daily Progress are both furloughing employees to save money. The Progress reports on their own furloughs, writing that employees will have to take ten days off without pay in the coming months, with the paper’s offices closing on those days, but “the paper will continue to be produced and delivered each morning without interruption.” It’s tough to see how the staff is supposed to put out a decent paper the following day but, then, Media General’s cost-savings efforts have generally involved doing things that will make their product worse. GE Fanuc is furloughing their employees for two weeks, Brian McNeill writes in the Daily Progress, leaving 300 employees—half of their workforce—on unemployment for a couple of weeks. They will, however, continue to receive benefits.

There’s word of layoffs at LexisNexis, though unconfirmed, with an anonymous commenter (anonymous to you, not me) explaining that it’s of “temps”, though some of those temps have been working there for many years in the manner of full-time employees, so presumably LexisNexis doesn’t have to call them “layoffs.” The company has been gradually laying people off for months, rather than canning a bunch of people at the same time. That’s got to make it a grim place to work.

8 thoughts on “Furloughs at Area Businesses”

  1. So much of the Cville LexisNexis office are (or were) temps (at one point in the past that number was at least 60- what it is now I don’t know) that the temp agency they contract with had an on site staffing rep with their own office space.

    The company (nationally if not locally) is bloated. The right hand doesn’t always know what the left is doing. One employee told me how a few days after they were hired (as a temp) the person they were hired to work for was canned. As a result that employee reported to work for about two weeks doing nothing except collecting a check with no one really noticing (or caring). At some point right after those two weeks another executive needed help on a project the temp volunteered and some time later was hired as a regular employee. At the time I was told the story that employee had been a regular for a few years already.

  2. The Lexis Nexus employees who are furloughed better check with the unemployment office now about all they are going to have to do to get that 2 weeks of unemployment benefits including looking for work and reporting their looking for work even before they receive a single payment. And lots of other fun stuff…

  3. Wonder if anyone ever thought of the concept of “layoff freezes”, the opposite of hiring freezes, as a tool to help staunch the bleeding in our ailing economy.
    An emergency measure thing to keep the jobless numbers from growing ever higher and making recovery worse.
    If some top CEOS had to take hefty slashes in their huge salaries and perks to keep the guy on the plant floor working so be it.
    The Republicans and their allies would shout SOCIALISM! Let them shout. The situation keeps getting any worse, we could see people breaking out the red flag and the hammer and sickle, and some “suits” dangling from lamp posts!

  4. Hmm. The Media General letter I saw seemed to imply that employees had the choice of which days to take off, it just had to be four days before the end of March, then 3 days between March 30 and June 28, etc. It looks like the Progress is taking this a step further and just choosing days to shut the whole building down, which probably makes more sense from a cost-saving perspective. It just means the staffers will have to scramble the weeks before these days off to get the paper done in advance. What happens if there’s breaking news on one of those Mondays? Oh well, serving the public by providing quality sources of news has never been MG’s top goal.

  5. The furloughs here at the DP affect hourly and salaried employees differently.

    Salaried employees such as myself, cannot take unpaid days off and will continue to work a normal schedule. We have effectively taken a salary-reduction and have been given ten days “extra” vacation.

    We are trying to make this work with the least amount of impact to readers.

  6. The DP has such a reputation for paying meager salaries to begin with, so the effects of 10 unpaid days will be even worse for individual workers. Why not just restrict it to top corporate officials? And the system of spreading it out so its a day here and there would probably mean people could not collect unemployment. Sure the company will avoid having to pay if at all possible. And it will not address the long term issues facing the paper, and indeed the whole newspaper industry.
    One has to hope the Obama stimulus package will help to start turning things around. Otherwise, the future scenario could get nasty. Have been re-reading Arthur Schlesinger Jr’s “The Crisis of the Old Order”, the first volume of his Age of Roosevelt.
    It deals with the years leading up to the Depression, and with the country on the eve of FDR’s inauguration. There was growing disorder, violence, and calls for radical change.
    Things are different now in some ways-we don’t have an active Communist Party as they did in the 1930s for example. On the other hand we seem to have become a generally more violent society. There are lots of guns out there.Saw something once that said “No one will ever conquer Russia because they have to much land.No one will ever conquer China because they have too many people. And no one will ever conquer America because they have too many guns.”
    Reading about armed farmers preventing foreclosures and other actions poses the question. Could that sort of thing happen again, only much worse?
    My fear is that the Republican opposition will go all-out to thwart Obama(much as they did with Clinton). Only, the stakes are much higher now.

  7. My old employer in Springfield, VA, the Army Times, also announced a furlough. I think this may become a common thing in the newspaper industry. :\

  8. I’d say the Monday office closings at the DP will be just like holiday closings for Memorial Day. The ad deadlines will be moved up. The skeleton crew will still produce the paper, probably with a less local content. And those who work weird schedules (like off Tuesday and Wednesday) will have a weird three-day non-weekend weekend.

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