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Tribune Strike Postponed, Talks Continue

July 8, 1985

CHICAGO (AP) _ Union officials today postponed a strike by 1,000 production workers against the Chicago Tribune, and negotiations centering on new technology will continue through this week, a newspaper spokeswoman said.

Talks continued until early this morning despite a 12:01 a.m. strike deadline, and negotiators for the Tribune and Chicago Mailers’ Local 2 planned to meet again later today, said Ruthellyn Roguski.

Negotiations with the Chicago Web Printing Pressmen Local 7 and Typographical Union Local 16 were set for later this week, Roguski said.

″There was no work stoppage and we had a good production run,″ she said. ″As long as we’re talking we’re optimistic.″

Roguski and Robert Hagstrom, president of the Printing Pressmen’s local, said ″the major turning point″ in the decision to delay the strike came when top newspaper executives agreed to meet with officials from the typographers’ union Thursday.

Hagstrom said a committee of representatives from about 14 unions involved in printing in Chicago would reassess the situation after Thursday.

Tribune negotiators met with the Printing Pressmen for much of Sunday and began meeting with the Mailers on Sunday afternoon.

The company has not yet met with the Typographical Union, representing the printers, in the talks that began Friday.

″We’re concentrating on the pressmen and the mailers, and when we resolve something we’ll meet with the printers,″ Roguski said.

The Tribune said it would continue to publish in the event of a strike, which would be the first against the newspaper since the printers walked the picket line for 22 months beginning Nov. 26, 1947. During that strike, the newspaper continued to publish.

The Chicago Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents the Tribune, has been bargaining with the unions since 1982.

″Because of new technology in some areas, the company needs to assign printers to other jobs,″ Roguski said Sunday. ″They would get equal or better pay and lifetime job guarantees.″

The company also wants to be able to select its own pressmen and to train them to handle its equipment, she said. Currently, about one-third of the company’s pressmen are assigned to work by the union, she said.

She said the paper would continue publishing if a strike by the unions, representing 1,006 workers, occurred.

″Our writers are not guild,″ she said. ″I can’t elaborate on the publishing plan.″

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