Furlough Food

The grievous news came last Monday, as the Entourage of Death — publisher, editor, advertising and HR directors — descended upon our tiny newspaper staff. Ten-day furlough, they said. 

Earlier that morning, the Ann Arbor News announced it would close, and three other Michigan dailies — The Bay City Times, The Flint Journal and The Saginaw News — announced they were scaling back to 3 days a week. Considering all that and other bad news in the industry, our staff was praying for the furlough. 

Newhouse announced 10-day furloughs and pension freezes at all its papers outside Michigan. Also that day, Gannett announced a week of furloughs, having already implemented a company-wide, one-week furlough just months ago.  We at Newhouse get the benefit of three-day weekends and extended vacation time, if we choose, or we may also work 37.5 hours for 32 weeks so we aren’t hit too hard. 

Friends at Gannett report they were told “furlough isn’t vacation” and must take mid-week furlough days. As if the cash-strapped employees weren’t put out enough!

I dipped my toe into the furlough pool immediately, taking off that Wednesday, to see how it would affect my paycheck and budget. I’m also extending two planned vacations with furlough days and taking a four-day weekend.

Now our staff adds “furlough” to nearly every noun for effect. One coworker baked furlough cookies (delicious!) for the next day. Today, she brought in a furlough quiche for breakfast. I’m holding out for furlough steak! 


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