Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Taken for a ride

Two Enquirer employees have sent this to me: The Enquirer has reduced the mileage reimbursement that employees will get for using their personal vehicles for newspaper business, from 31 cents to 29 cents per mile. This was disclosed to employees on December 18, in a terse email from the publisher -- so terse it made it sound like a logical move. Please recall that the Enquirer also eliminated its annual employee Christmas gift to save money, so on or about the day employees should have gotten their trinket, they got this email instead.

On November 1, the IRS raised the allowable tax deduction for business use of a vehicle to 48.5 cents per mile. If you want the technical description of why the IRS did this, read this. I don't understand it but it appears the IRS believes the cost of operating a vehicle includes many things beyond the cost of gas, including the actual cost of the vehicle, insurance, maintenance and depreciation. I found one page online that says AAA estimated the per-mile cost of operating a vehicle was 56 cents a mile in 2004. One Enquirer source said (and I can't confirm this) that both the Post and the Associated Press pay about 40 cents a mile.

This is not another case of the Enquirer being cheap. It's another case of the corporate pigs who run it committing immoral acts upon their employees. To pay employees less than it costs to operate their vehicles for Enquirer business is stealing, pure and simple. I'm sure the publisher gets a bonus for hitting profit targets set by Gannett, and she's trying to get there by stealing nickels from the pockets of her underpaid and overworked employees. We know for certain she's not making the newspaper better by doing this, and those nickels aren't going to sell more papers or help it win on the Web. It's just greed, and it's cruel. I hope she chokes on that fucking money.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any way for employees to sue? I ask because this reminds me of Walmart essentially making employees work unpaid overtime and forfeit mandated breaks. If I recall correctly, Walmart lost. Also, is there any issue here for the union?

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you only get 29 cents and the IRS limit is 48.5 cents, you are allowed to deduct the difference from your income taxes, but only if your business expenses exceed something like 2 percent of your income. The Enquirer has really put it's workers into a corner.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few more nickels won't get the publisher out of the mess that she has single handedly lead this organization into during her time.

Employees can't sue, nor do they have any real voice in the direction she's taking but they certainly have opportunities to "work" together if they want.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

employees at the post do indeed get more than 40 cents a mile

post employees also got a christmas gift this year

next year, though? well, that could be tough

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rent a car. It's usually less expensive than mileage reimbursement and you won't have to use your own insurance in the event of an accident.

7:57 AM  

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