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NEWSPAPER GUILD OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA ANNOUNCES STRIKE AT NORRISTOWN TIMES AND HERALD

 PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia:
 Guild members this morning threw up a picket line at 6 a.m. at the Norristown Times and Herald to protest the firing of 16 co-workers and cuts of up to 33 percent in wages and benefits by the newspaper's new owners.
 The new owners, the Journal Register Co., a Trenton, N.J.-based newspaper group, told employees of the cuts in wages and benefits in meetings on Monday after finalizing the sale of the 194-year-old newspaper.
 The employees decided to strike after what several called "a day of humiliation."
 "We were herded in like cattle and forced to walk in twos to find out is we were being executed," said sportswriter Vince Zinno, 36, a member of the Newspaper Guild Local 10, which represents 63 employees in editorial, advertising, circulation and the business office.
 Employees who left the new owners' offices on Monday gave a "thumbs up or down" to let the others waiting in line know whether they were being offered jobs. During the meetings, Guild-covered employees leaned that their co-pay for medical insurance would be increased from $16 a month to $150 a month, and that some who earned the top wage scale of $683 a week would be cut some $200 a week.
 On Aug. 28, the Journal Register offered to buy the Times Herald for $30 million in an asset sale, following the death earlier this year of longtime owner J.A. Peter Strassburger. The deal was finalized late Monday.
 Local 10 Administrative Officer Wayne E. Cahill said the union has tried repeatedly since the sale was announced to meet with the Journal Register to get the new owners to honor the Guild contract and reveal their plans for the current employees.
 "Asset sales are used to avoid union contracts," said Cahill. "It's a loophole to slash wages and benefits, eliminate job security and fire longtime employees."
 On Sept. 21, Guild members voted to authorize a strike against the new
owners. The contract expires April 19, 1994.
 /delval/
 -0- 9/28/93
 /CONTACT: Wayne E. Cahill, administrative officer, of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, 215-928-0118/


CO: Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia; Norristown Times Herald;
 Journal Register Co. ST: Pennsylvania IN: PUB SU:


CC -- NYON1 -- 6614 09/29/93 05:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 29, 1993
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