Friday, Sep 30, 2016
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Blade, its unions reach tentative agreement

The Blade and a council of its eight unions have reached a tentative labor contract agreement.

The terms of the settlement affecting more than 330 workers were not disclosed Thursday morning.

The agreement was reached Wednesday night with the Toledo Council of Newspaper Unions, said Steve Spolar, vice president of human relations and labor relations for Block Newspapers, which includes The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The agreement is to be presented to members of the eight unions to consider for ratification beginning next week, he said.

"I'm glad a tentative agreement has been reached," said Joseph H. Zerbey IV, president and general manager of The Blade. "It is now up to the unions to ratify that agreement, and we look forward to that happening in the near future."

Union council President Woody Trabbic and Mr. Spolar declined to disclose any terms, including the length of the agreement.

In a statement, Mr. Trabbic said details of the agreement will be shared with union members “shortly,” and will be released publicly following ratification votes.

“While the Joint Council will recommend ratification, we do so with the acknowledgement that we are asking members to give up decades of job improvements in order to save the newspaper,” he said in the statement.

The newspaper had been seeking $8.8 million in cuts, including pay cuts, increased health-insurance premium costs, and outsourcing of some work, the Toledo Newspaper Guild had said previously.

The last contract expired Feb. 28, but has been extended and the employees have continued to work.

The contract talks affect newsroom employees, paperhandlers, pressmen, engravers, mailers, delivery drivers, and people who insert items into the paper.

The Blade is owned by Block Communications Inc., which also owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Buckeye CableSystem.

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