Philly Deal in Jeopardy as Pressmen Reject Contract

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By: E&P Staff

The prospective new owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News saw continued pushback from some of the newspapers’ unions Monday as a second group of employees voted Monday against a new labor contract.

The newspapers’ pressmen, represented by a Teamsters local, voted 74-9 to reject the offer, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday. The thumbs-down on that proposal follows Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News machinists’ rejection on Sunday of a separate contract offer.

Philadelphia Media Network Inc., which purchased the Inquirer, the Daily News, and Philly.com at a bankruptcy auction in April for $139 million, had planned to finalize its purchase of the media outlets Tuesday, when it is scheduled to emerge from bankruptcy. But if the potential new owners cannot reach contracts with all the unions — nine of which have already approved new terms —the purchase agreement allows the new ownership to walk away from the deal.

The Inquirer reported that attorneys from the two papers’ previous ownership and executives for Philadelphia Media Network and their lawyers had a three-hour meeting Monday with Chief Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Raslavich. Following that meeting, none of the participants would speak to the press.

The parties are scheduled appear before Raslavich at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

A contingent of labor leaders with the machinists also took part in the talks, the Inquirer reported, and after the meeting said they were still without a contract.

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