Newspaper union accepts concessions ahead of sale

Posted May 29, 2009, at 4:23 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Press Herald’s largest union has voted to accept wage and benefit concessions designed to pave the way for the Seattle Times Co.’s sale of its Blethen Maine subsidiary.

Members of the Portland Newspaper Guild voted 161 to 19 Friday in favor of a new contract that includes a 10 percent wage cut, a two-year pay freeze and a suspension of 401k and pension contributions. In return, employees get a 15 percent stake in the company under an employee stock ownership plan.

Bangor native Richard Connor, editor and publisher of the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., has been negotiating to buy the Press Herald, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and other Blethen Maine properties.

The Guild said the sale is expected to close before June 15.

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