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Plain Dealer union approves contract, but questions remain
Newspaper will cut staff in return for more healthcare and pension benefits

Grant Engle
In The Region:

The Plain Dealer’s union has agreed to a six-year contract that prevents some future layoffs, but there is still uncertainty surrounding the future of the newspaper.

The Plain Dealer will cut nearly one-third of its workforce – 58 employees – by May, but the union is unsure who will be laid off. The union approved the cutback in return for a “no layoff” guarantee for more than 100 journalists currently at the paper, in addition to increased healthcare and pension benefits.

Harlan Spector is the president of the Local 1 Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild. He says reporters who work strictly on the website will now provide content for the print version of the paper, too.

Harlan Spector talks about reporters working for the print edition

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“The guild represents professional journalists who I think bring a certain quality to the reporting and writing. I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to see more material coming in to the newspaper that I don’t think meets the standards now that the staff here meets."

Advance Publications, the company that owns the Plain Dealer and more than 20 other newspapers around the country, has cut publishing days from several papers this year.

There have also been rumors the Plain Dealer will be cut to three print editions a week, but that was not negotiated in this contract.

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