Seattle Union Will Continue Backing 2-Paper Group in JOA Fight

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By: Joe Strupp

Seattle Newspaper Guild members voted Sunday to keep their local’s connection to a citizens’ group that is trying to block The Seattle Times’ effort to shut down its rival, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Times reported Monday.

In a 62-43 vote, the paper reported, employees from both papers represented by Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild agreed to keep its ties with the Committee for a Two-Newspaper Town.

The union has been the largest financial contributor to the ad-hoc citizens’ group, which was formed in July 2003. A King County Superior Court judge has let the group intervene in the long-running lawsuit that has pitted the Times against The Hearst Corp., which owns the P-I.

The Guild local represents about 700 editorial and other employees at The Times and 150 at the P-I.

In April 2003, Times owner Frank Blethen notified Hearst that the Times had lost money for three consecutive years under the papers’ joint-operating agreement (JOA). The notification allowed a JOA provision requiring negotiations that could lead either to a shutdown of the P-I or an end to the JOA to begin.

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