Media General confirmed the rumors today, with word that “despite aggressive sales initiatives and significant cost reductions already implemented, we need to build in additional expense savings to offset the revenue shortfalls we anticipate,” in the decidedly corporate words of Marshall Morton, Media General’s CEO. To put in words more commonly floated around television newsrooms, you just got two weeks off, whether you want ’em–or can afford ’em. No pay.
Media General owns 19 local television stations, including WFLA/Tampa, WVTM/Birmingham, WSAV/Savannah, and WJAR/Providence. Employees will be forced to take ten unpaid days, including four days off before the end of March, according to the Associated Press. The AP reports the company has already cut costs by $19 million dollars by suspending matching payments to employees’ 401(k) retirement plans.
The furloughs follow a round of corporate layoffs across several Media General stations over the last few months, including 80 positions cut in Florida last November, and on-air cuts in Birmingham and Charleston just weeks ago.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the furloughs are mandatory for all non-union, non-contract employees, though union and contract employees will be asked to “voluntarily” participate in the ten no work, no pay days.