September 16, 2009

Third Sun-Times union says no to cuts

A third Chicago Sun-Times union voted to reject contract cuts mandated by a group seeking to buy the bankrupt media company, the union said.

The latest group to vote no, Lake Country, Ill., News-Sun Newspaper Guild members voted 12-4 to reject the offer, Crain's Chicago Business reported Wednesday.

The Chicago Newspaper Guild, with an 83-22 no vote, said the membership of the Sun-Times unit outright rejects the company's memorandum of agreement and settlement that guts our contract and takes away most rights that protects our members.

Gary Post-Tribune union members have also turned down the concessions.

Leader of the investment group, Jim Tyree, chief executive officer of Mesirow Financial, said the offer would stand for the time being.

I've promised I will keep open this proposal until Sept. 29 and I'm certainly willing to do that. But I'm not willing to get into a negotiation, he told Crain's Chicago Business.

The concessions are required by 18 separate union groups, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Sun-Times Media Chairman Jeremy Halbreich informed employees in a memo, the company will still be losing far too much money for any reasonable investor to underwrite, without the concessions.

Tyree's group has offered $5 million in cash with the group assuming $20 million of the company's debt.