Unhappy Guild To Vote on Labor Contract in Philly Today

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Leaders of a union representing more than 900 workers at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News urged their members to ratify a three-year labor contract despite major concessions.

Diane Mastrull, who led the bargaining committee for The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, sent a memo to members saying the papers’ owners “should be ashamed” of the contract, but that it is far better for the workers than what management wanted.

Mastrull said in the memo that union leaders are angry about the tentative agreement, which lasts until August 31, 2009, but nonetheless urged members to approve it in Monday night’s vote.

“If we let our anger consume us, we will destroy the papers, destroy jobs and destroy families,” Mastrull said.

Jay Devine, a spokesman for owner Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, said after the tentative agreement was reached last week that the company is aiming to save at least $20 million. He said the company will be laying workers off, but he did not have an exact number, saying the company needs to figure out the savings from all the contracts with the papers’ 10 unions.

The Guild, the papers’ largest union, represents editorial, circulation, advertising and clerical workers.

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