Maine Papers Negotiate New Contract

By: Lucia Moses

The Seattle Times Co., which weathered a costly strike that buffeted its flagship Seattle Times almost a year ago, may be able to avoid another one across the country.

Its Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and the Portland Newspaper Guild have agreed tentatively on a new 81/2-year contract after 21/2 years of negotiations.

Guild members may vote on the proposal Nov. 14, a representative said.

Under the agreement, members would receive 3.5% raises for every 14 months between December 1998 and June 2002, as well as 3% raises in each of the following five years. They also would pay a bigger share of their health-insurance premiums, with such payments rising to 20% from 10% over the next four years.

In an apparently related move, management has restored the bylines of union members that had been withheld after they engaged in a byline strike in July.

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