Star union rejects Gannett contract offer-WEB ONLY

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The Indianapolis Newspaper Guild voted overwhelmingly yesterday against a new contract with the Gannett Co.-owned Indianapolis Star.

Union members voted 97-9 against a contract that would cut salaries by 12 percent between now and October. The contract gave union members no assurances there wouldn’t be further layoffs or unpaid furloughs.

“Because this was not a last, final offer, the union bargaining team looks forward to resuming negotiations with representatives of Gannett and reaching a deal that is acceptable to both the company and to the journalists and building services workers committed to making the Indianapolis Star the best it can be,” Tom Spalding, the Guild’s president, said in a written statement.

Union officials said they believe the vote sent a strong message to Star management. Spalding said a pay cut is acceptable to union leaders, but he suggested it be in the 6-percent range. Officials for McLean, Va.-based Gannett have said the pay reduction is necessary to cut costs to help compensate for dramatically lower advertising sales.

Privately, union members are nervous that management will respond with job cuts at the Star. A blog penned by a former Gannett staffer recently reported layoffs across Gannett are coming July 8.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gannett was planning to reduce its national work force of 41,500 by 1,000 to 2,000 workers in a new round of layoffs beginning this month.

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