Morris Communications Co. announced today it will reduce employee wages by 5 to 10 percent effective April 1. The reductions will affect hourly and salaried employees.
"This is very painful for us, for the Morris family,'' said William S. Morris III, chairman of the Augusta-based company. "We've done everything we can to put it off.''
Mr. Morris said the pay cuts are designed to preserve jobs in a difficult economic environment.
"The newspaper business is facing unprecedented challenges," Mr. Morris said in a news release. "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."
According to the release, wage reductions will be 5 percent for those who earn less than $25,000 per year, 7.5 percent for those earning $25,000 to $50,000, and 10 percent for those earning $50,000 or more.
Morris Communications publishes 13 daily newspapers, including The Augusta Chronicle through its Morris Publishing division. Its other holdings include non-daily newspapers, free community publications, magazine publishing, outdoor advertising, radio broadcasting, book publishing and distribution, visitor publications and online services.