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N.J. Paper Deliverers OK Job Cuts

February 4, 2002

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Members of the newspaper drivers’ union at The Jersey Journal voted Sunday in favor of an agreement cutting half their jobs to save the 135-year-old daily, a representative said.

Leadership from the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers’ Union reached the agreement just after midnight Saturday, the day Journal managers planned to shut down the paper unless all the unions agreed to deep job cuts.

The drivers’ union was the last of three unions to negotiate a deal.

Its local approved the agreement Sunday, and the union’s 1,800-strong general membership will take a final vote within three weeks, said Thomas Bentvena, the union’s business agent.

On Jan. 2, management told unions representing journalists, office workers and drivers that they had to agree to cut half the staff for the Journal to survive declining readership and advertising revenues.

Newsroom and office workers agreed before the company-imposed Jan. 31 deadline. But the drivers balked, and managers announced Thursday that the paper would stop publishing after Saturday’s editions.

Talks with the drivers revived that night and continued throughout Friday, leading to an agreement to shed nine of the 18 drivers’ jobs.

The Jersey Journal became the only daily in densely populated Hudson County after it bought out the rival Hudson Dispatch in 1991.

It is part of the Newhouse family’s Advance Publications Newspaper Group, which includes The Oregonian in Portland, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Times of Trenton.

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