Union dispute may scuttle Philly newspaper sale


It looked like the ownership of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News was decided in April, but there’s been an unexpected twist. The buyer approved by the federal bankruptcy court hasn’t been able to come to terms with the Teamsters Union, so the purchase still hasn’t closed.

According to the Inquirer, the drivers who deliver the newspapers voted 191-4 to reject the last contract offer from Philadelphia Media Network, the company which bid $139 million to buy the newspapers in last April’s bankruptcy auction. The would-be buyer is owned by 16 financial institutions which had been lenders to Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, which filed Chapter 11 in February 2009.

The drivers object to the plan by Philadelphia Media Network to stop paying into the Teamsters Union pension fund and instead have a 401(k) retirement plan.

The court-approved deal to sell the newspapers will collapse unless Philadelphia Media Network is able to come to terms with all of the unions, of which Teamsters Local 628 is the only one remaining. That could mean another auction by the bankruptcy court.