Bloomberg News

Newsday Unions Approve Contracts, Tribune Unit Says

January 09, 2006

Newsday, a Tribune Co. newspaper on New York's Long Island, won approval of new four-year contracts from unions representing about two-thirds of its workers.

The agreements, which cover newsroom, pressroom and other employees, replace 10-year contracts that were set to expire over the next six months, Newsday said in a statement today. Union members voted on the proposed contracts yesterday.

Tribune and other publishers of metropolitan newspapers last year struggled with circulation declines and advertiser defections to the Internet. Newsday lost 8.8 percent of its circulation in the 12 months ended March 31, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Chicago-based Tribune cut 900 jobs and reduced stock-option grants to lower costs last year.

Tribune shares rose 42 cents to $31.31 at 4:18 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 24 percent in the past 12 months.

Newsday said terms of the new contracts let it cut 65 jobs while providing 2 percent pay raises each year from 2007 through 2009, plus 0.5 percent lump sum payments in 2007 and 2008. The agreements don't call for wage increases this year, Newsday said.

The company said the job cuts are expected to affect pressroom and transportation workers. Deidra Parrish Williams, a Newsday spokeswoman, said the job cuts are expected to come this month.

The contract terms also provide for the replacement of a defined-benefit pension plan with a defined-contribution plan, Newsday said. The agreements were made with representatives of Teamsters Local 406 after round-the-clock bargaining sessions last week, Newsday said.

Newsday had average daily paid circulation of 439,708 as of March, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ted Bunker in Boston at tbunker1@Bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma Moody in New York at emoody@Bloomberg.net.


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