1 Union Settles With ‘Jersey Journal’

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(AP) Correction: The first version of this story incorrectly reported that two of the three unions had reached agreement to cut staff. Negotiations are ongoing.

One of the three unions representing employees of The Jersey Journal has reached an agreement to cut about half the staff to prevent the newspaper from closing at the end of the month.

The union representing drivers continues to negotiate with managers of the 45,000-circulation daily, said Patt Hoffman, business agent for Local 153 of the Professional Employees International Union. Hoffman’s union and the Newspaper Guild have placed an ad in Saturday’s paper appealing to the drivers’ union to negotiate cutbacks, she said.

Managers at the newspaper said earlier this month that the newspaper would close by Feb. 1 if all three unions didn’t agree to up to 50% reductions in staff.

Steven Newhouse, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, has said that the newspaper’s circulation has been declining for years because of a growing Spanish-speaking population in Hudson County.

Those who are leaving will get up to 48 weeks’ severance pay and six to nine months of health benefits, she said.

The newspaper hasn’t said when the job cuts would take place, Hoffman said. Newspaper Editor Judith Locorriere declined comment on the negotiations.

The Journal also wants to cut nine of the 18 employees from the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union, but the drivers have not agreed, Hoffman said. Union representative Thomas Bentvena declined comment on negotiations.

Nancy Jester, a sales associate who will leave her job, said the employees chipped in to pay for a $900 quarter-page ad that will run in Saturday’s paper. It asks the drivers to settle with the newspaper so that the remaining staff members can keep their jobs, she said.

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