Publisher sues Portland Newspaper Guild

News Union refuses to negotiate

Blethen Maine Newspapers, the owner of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram has filed a lawsuit against the Portland Newspaper Guild, which represents roughly 300 Blethen staffers, over its labor contract.

At issue is whether the labor contract the guild signed in 2007 with Blethen, which is owned by the Seattle Times Co., must be honored by prospective buyers of the paper. In March, the Seattle Times Co. said it was looking to sell its Maine holdings, which also includes daily newspapers in Waterville and Augusta. At the time, the guild said it would seek to stop any deal unless a buyer was required to honor the labor contract. That requirement has stalled talks with potential buyers, according to a memo sent Tuesday from Publisher Chuck Cochrane to Blethen staff.

Cochrane claims the union has refused to participate in arbitration to settle the matter and that the lawsuit is a last resort.


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