AUGUSTA, Ga. - Morris Communications, parent company of the Juneau Empire, told its employees Wednesday that it will reduce their wages between 5 and 10 percent, effective April 1. The reductions will affect both hourly and salaried employees; management as well as rank-and-file.
"This is very painful for us, for the Morris family,'' said William S. Morris III, chairman of the company. "We've done everything we can to put it off.''
In his memo to employees, Morris said, "As you are all acutely aware, the newspaper business is facing unprecedented challenges. Just yesterday, after 126 continuous years of publishing, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed its last edition. Other newspapers have sought protection from creditors in bankruptcy court, severely cut back on their publishing schedules or abandoned the business entirely.
"Morris Communications so far has been able to avoid such far-reaching action. We continue to talk to our lenders and bondholders to seek a sustainable restructuring of our debt. But we must also do what is necessary to try to keep our operating costs in line with declining revenues."
Employees who make less than $25,000 per year will have a 5 percent wage reduction; those who earn between $25,000 and $50,000 will have a 7.5 percent reduction and those earning $50,000 or more will have a 10 percent reduction.
Morris said the pay cuts are the least painful way to preserve the greatest number of jobs in the difficult environment.