New York Daily News unionizes ahead Alden takeover vote

Workers on the New York Daily News voted 55-3 to be represented by the News­Guild of New York ahead of a harrowing May 21 shareholder vote to promote dad or mum firm Tribune Publishing to cost-slashing hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

Last week’s union vote makes the tabloid the most recent Tribune paper to unionize. Now solely certainly one of Tribune’s 9 every day papers — the South Florida Sun Sentinel — has a union-free newsroom as efforts ramp up by native union chapters to derail Alden’s proposed $631 million takeover of the writer of the Chicago Tribune and different papers.

For the Daily News, it’s really a return to Guild illustration by a union that after represented some 400 dues-paying members on the paper. After a bitter strike within the early ’90s, the union managed to hold round.

But the Guild pale away following the acquisition of the News by media mogul Robert Maxwell, the so-called “bouncing Czech” who died (some say by suicide) amid strained funds, and the next sale in financial institution­ruptcy court docket to real- property baron Mort Zuck­erman.

Both Maxwell and Zuckerman had trimmed workers. And when Zuckerman in 2017 sold the tabloid to Trib­une for $1 and the belief of debt, there have been just about no ex-Guild members left on the paper.

chicago tribune
There have been no bidders for the Chicago Tribune, believed to be the chain’s most worthwhile paper.

The Daily News suffered its most devastating cuts underneath Tribune, which in 2018 slashed the workers by some 50 p.c.

Last yr, staffers have been advised that they might proceed to work remotely and never return to a newsroom even after the pandemic lifts.

The already decimated newsroom stands to be additional slashed underneath Alden, a New York-based hedge fund known for drastic cuts at papers it controls by its MediaNews Group.

It’s why the Guild is urging Tribune shareholders to vote in opposition to the hedge fund whereas praying for a white knight bidder like Stewart Bainum, chairman of Choice Hotels International, who has expressed curiosity in shopping for the newspaper chain.

“The NewsGuild is urging shareholders to vote against Alden’s attempt to take over Tribune Publishing,” mentioned Jon Schleuss, the nationwide president of the News Guild-CWA.

“We continue to support Bainum’s bid to purchase Tribune Publishing, which looks like a better choice than the weak one put forward by Alden. Our members are actively recruiting other supporters from their communities to join the fight to Save Local News.” 

Bainum has been working feverishly to place collectively a bid with native backers in cities coated by Tribune to buy the chain for $680 million. Last week, he mentioned he’d be prepared to up his dedication to the deal from $100 million to $300 million, consisting of $200 million in fairness and $100 million in new debt, in a bid to draw others to his takeover bid.

But time is operating out and not using a competing deal.

Mason Slaine, who has simply over 3 p.c of Tribune inventory, is reportedly interested in shopping for the Orlando Sun and the South Florida Sun Sentinel and could be prepared to affix a Bainum bid. Slaine, whereas expressing help publicly for Bainum’s bid over Alden, has not been concerned in any direct negotiations with Bainum about becoming a member of his bid.

There are others who’re additionally fascinated with shopping for native papers and have been watching the method from the sidelines.

But no bidders have come ahead for the Chicago Tribune, believed to be essentially the most worthwhile within the chain, or the struggling Daily News. Said one educated supply, “The challenge is they need someone else to come in and say they want the Chicago Tribune, otherwise it doesn’t work.”

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