The future of the state's largest newspaper is in the hands of a small union representing about ninety delivery drivers, according to an internal memo from Star-Ledger publisher George Arwady. Arwady notes that he expects their goal of 200 voluntary buyouts (including 100 news room personnel) to be met by the October 8 deadline, but says that if the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union fails to ratify their new contract, the "Star-Ledger will be put up for sale on October 9."
Yesterday, Teamsters Local 1100, which represents 400 Star-Ledger mailers, voted overwhelmingly to ratify their new contract, which includes a three-year wage freeze and buyouts of nearly 100 employees.
To: Star-Ledger Employees
From: George Arwady
Date: September 23, 2008
As I have informed you, we need to meet three conditions by October 8 in order not to sell or close by January 5, 2009.
I am happy to be able to share some very good news with you. The Mailers union voted 183-18 yesterday to ratify a new agreement, thereby fulfilling one of the three conditions.
Meanwhile, we expect that our goals for the voluntary buyouts will be met, with 9 days still left for non-bargaining-unit employees to sign up. That will fulfill a second condition.
Therefore, the only stumbling block to meeting the three conditions is ratification of an agreement by the Drivers. We hope that they will take the steps necessary to ratify their draft agreement by the deadline or else The Star-Ledger will be put up for sale on October 9.