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Strib union rejects concessions, bankruptcy seems certain

Management demanded the Strib’s major unions agree to cutbacks or else. Or else has come.
By David Brauer

Get ready for a Star Tribune bankruptcy filing.

The newsroom’s Newspaper Guild announced today they had ended negotiations with management over concessions. The Strib’s owners have said that unless all Strib unions agree to a specific list of cutbacks, they will file for bankruptcy.

Says Guild co-chair Graydon Royce, “We tried to work this out and this didn’t happen. All we can do is go by what they have said, and that [bankruptcy] is what they said will happen. So we’ll find out.”

Strib publisher Chris Harte has backed away from previous, more subtle bankruptcy threats, but few expect that now. Management earlier set a Jan. 6 deadline for unions to agree to a deal in principle, and a Jan. 16 date for approval. At the moment, I don’t know when they will file.

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I’ll have more in a bit [Update: more] but here’s the memo Royce and co-chair David Chanen just sent to their members:

Guild members —

After several sessions with management, talks on possibly reaching a settlement to modify the contract have ended without agreement.

Management representatives said during a session last night that they saw no reason to continue the discussions and we could not disagree with them.

We will try to answer questions, the best we are able, on what this means for the future, at Friday’s 4:30 p.m. unit meeting.

And please try to attend tomorrow’s send-off for colleagues who have taken the buyout.

Graydon Royce
David Chanen