Union: Philly papers' owners threaten liquidation

Philadelphia - The owners of Philadelphia's two major newspapers have threatened to liquidate or sell the company's assets if they can't get new labor contracts by today, according to the union representing journalists.

Local Newspaper Guild leaders were meeting Thursday with executives of Interstate General Media LLC, the group that owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and its joint website, Philly.com.

The Guild notified its members last week of the alleged threat, saying the company was demanding new agreements with all 11 unions. Ten unions have been working without contracts since October; the current Guild contract expires next October.

Owners are seeking $8 million in concessions from Guild members alone, and the union does not want to reopen their agreement.

"We will not be held out as scapegoats, to be blamed for not bargaining a new agreement while we have one standing," Guild president Dan Gross wrote in a letter to members.

Several powerful local business leaders formed Interstate General Media to buy the financially troubled newspapers in April for about $55 million. It's the fifth company to own the media outlets since 2006.

- Associated Press

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