'The Blade' Of Toledo Settles With Locked-Out Unions

By: Joe Strupp The Blade of Toledo, which had locked out five of its eight labor unions since last August, reached a tentative agreement with all five, as well as two other unions that were not locked out, a union spokesman reported.

Larry Vellequette, spokesman for the Toledo Council of Newspaper Unions, told E&P the deal was reached at about 1 a.m. Wednesday, ending the lockout that had kept more than 200 workers off the job. "It is a concessionary contract," said Vellequette, who declined to release specifics. "It gets us back to work and it gives the Blade a chance to make money. There are economic concessions."

Also included in the settlement is the local Newspaper Guild, which had been working without a contract since last year, but remained on the job. One union, representing electricians, had reached a contract settlement last summer.

In a Web story, the paper stated, "If the proposed contracts are approved, it would end more than a year of negotiations, would end the lockout of 215 craft union members, and would result in the dismissal of all legal disputes." The unions had organized a boycott of the paper, as well as filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board claiming the lockout was illegal. Vellequette said such complaints would be settled with the new agreements.

Although he welcomed the settlement, Vellequette said "I think the Blade is a damaged company. I think this will help restore them a little bit." But, he added, "there is pain for everybody," in the new deal.


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