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Sun-Times Union Rejects Demands, Tyree Not Fazed

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 16, 2009 2:20PM

Unionized workers from the Sun-Times approved a motion that rejects concessions set by management to pave the way for the sale of the Sun-Times Media Group to businessman James Tyree by a vote of 83-22. According to the Trib, "Management has said the concessions are an absolute prerequisite from all 18 collective bargaining units for a proposed sale of parent Sun-Times Media Group." In spite of a memo sent earlier Tuesday by Chairman Jeremy Halbreich, reminding employees that a rejection of the concessions would mean a withdrawal of the bid, it seems Tyree isn't giving up on his bid. He told the Sun-Times:

"I've promised I will keep open this proposal until Sept. 29th, and I'm certainly willing to do that -- but I do not want to get into a negotiation...I recognize from the bottom of my heart that what's being asked of here goes at a lot of people's core values.

"I'm sorry about that. But in my mind there is no other way. There's no room to negotiate work rules or compensation or pensions because I'm planning on our [investor] group losing money for a good long time."

The Chicago Newspaper Guild Sun-Times Unit, representing the S-T employees, issued a statement that 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. The membership orders the Executive Director to communicate this vote to the company."

"The Guild Sun-Times Unit further states that the Union is willing to bargain with the company on provisions that would help the company survive but not willing to give up the rights of our members."

The Trib has more on the matter here, Phil Rosenthal takes a deeper look here, the Sun-Times has its own report here, and the Reader's Michael Miner has a report here.