Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Home Stretch: Zuckerman Set to Close Deal to Acquire New York Daily News despite the Lack of Contact with the Newspaper Guild

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Home Stretch: Zuckerman Set to Close Deal to Acquire New York Daily News despite the Lack of Contact with the Newspaper Guild

Article excerpt

PUBLISHER AND REAL estate investor Mortimer Zuckerman was preparing to close his purchase of the bankrupt New York Daily News late in the week of Jan. 3-9 despite the lack of a contract with the paper's biggest union, the Newspaper Guild.

The printers union became the ninth of the paper's 10 unions to come to terms with Zuckerman. Only the Guild, representing 540 newsroom, classified and clerical workers, remains without a contract.

Zuckerman, who also owns U.S. News & World Report and The Atlantic, said he will negotiate with the Guild after he takes over the paper and will employ only selected Guild-represented workers.

"In essence they are busting us," said Guild secretary-treasurer Tom Pennacchio. "We are not going to roll over and die."

The Guild voted Jan. 6 to organize a boycott of the paper and of Zuckerman's other businesses if he carries out plans to purge Guild workers.

Zuckerman has asked all Guild-represented employees to apply for their jobs. He was considering which Guild workers to retain and planning to hire new ones.

In a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, the Guild has accused Zuckerman of unfair labor practices over the re-application scheme.

Despite three months of negotiations, the Guild and Zuckerman have deadlocked over the publisher's plans for overhauling the newsroom. The Guild argues that his demands to expand management's hiring and firing rights, ending traditional union job security, amount to an attack on the union. Zuckerman says he needs the leeway so he can improve the news product.

The sides have not negotiated in about a month, and no talks were scheduled the week the deal was expected to close.

In an effort to entice Guild members to resign, Zuckerman has sweetened the contractual two weeks' Severance per year of seniority with an extra half a week.

The contract with the printers union, New York Typographical Union Local 6, came after an appeals court allowed Zuckerman to ignore lifetime job guarantees for 167 printers. He had promised to walk away from the paper if forced to honor the 1974 guarantees, which he said cost $10 million a year.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 22 upheld a bankruptcy court ruling, which had been overturned by a U. …

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