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A mandate for unpaid leave has been issued by Freedom Communications, as staffers at WRGB Albany were told to take a five-day furlough in the coming months. The furloughs appear to be voluntary for union members and those with a personal services contract, and mandatory for everyone else.
The Freedom furloughs were previously reported in Schenectady's (N.Y.) Daily Gazette, which suggests they are being mandated companywide. Freedom owns eight stations, including WPEC West Palm Beach, and over a hundred newspapers, including the Orange County Register.
Calls to Freedom Communications and WRGB management were not returned at presstime.
Furloughs are an increasingly popular cost-cutting measure in local television. Gannett employees took a week of unpaid leave in the first quarter, while Media General staffers are taking two weeks off starting this month and ending in September. While employees are hardly ecstatic about the pay cut, most seem to feel it's a better alternative to losing their jobs, or seeing longtime co-workers lose theirs.
Earlier this month, WRGB and Hubbard Broadcasting's WNYT announced they were looking to pool sports content in Albany. The region has been hit particularly hard by the recession.