5/16/08

News Union gags on Big Print dues cuts

Labor-state news room rocked

The union representing some 1,200 newsroom and other employees at the Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune says the newspaper's owners are looking for $20 million in annual budget cuts. About a tenth of that hit would come in the Star Tribune's newsroom, which has lost about 100 journalists in the past few years. Graydon Royce is a leader with the Newspaper Guild union at the paper, which is already in contract talks.

"They have approached us and indicated they have been ordered to cut their newsroom budget by $2.5 million," Royce said. "That is a point of negotiation right now. No decisions have been made. We feel this is all under negotiation. We don't necessarily accept any of the proposals that have been put forward right now."

The Star Tribune said it had no comment about budget cuts, saying it wanted to honor what it said is the confidentiality of the bargaining process.

Earlier this month the Star Tribune hired a private equity firm to advise it. But the company disputed a published report that said it's "on the brink of bankruptcy."

Like most big city newspapers, the Star Tribune has been struggling with declining circulation and falling advertising revenues.

(minnesota.publicradio.org)

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