Most workers at the Saint Paul Pioneer Press newspaper will be taking five days off without pay as part of the paper's cost-saving measures. Union workers agreed Friday to begin taking the furloughs as early as next week. Managers and most non-union workers are also being asked to take unpaid leave.
The paper's management has not guaranteed that the unpaid furloughs would prevent future layoffs.
Dave Orrick from the Newspaper Guild said he is concerned that any future cuts could hurt the quality of the paper.
"Like many people in jobs in all sorts of industries, we are being asked to do more with less," Orrick said. "The problem, and what disconcerts especially those of us who are journalists, is that we are so thin right now in serving the public's desire for news that we don't know how much more we can take."
The paper's 307 union members will each take five furlough days between next Monday and April 30. Almost three-fourths of the furloughs will occur by the end of March.
"The fact is, we have a dedication to the Pioneer Press and its future and if this can help the paper, and the workers around us, then we are willing to make the sacrifice even though we know there is no guarantee that this will help," Orrick said.
The Pioneer Press declined requests for comment.