Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Newspaper Guild Local Named to Creditor Committee in Tribune Bankruptcy Filing

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild-CWA, which represents employees at the Baltimore Sun, has been named as one of nine members of the creditors' committee in the bankruptcy filing by Tribune Co.

The relatively unusual inclusion of a union on a creditors' committee follows the Guild's success last week in securing Tribune's commitment to pay promised severance and health care benefits to employees who recently accepted a company buy-out. The payments were threatened by Tribune's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Wilmington, Del., just slightly more than one year after the company was taken private in a complex transaction that saddled it with nearly $13 billion in debt.

"We're extremely happy that we'll now be in a position to watch out for our members' best interests," said Cet Parks, the Guild's executive officer. "And we're appreciative that Tribune will honor its commitments to the several dozen employees who accepted severance packages after years of dedicated service to the Sun."

Added Bernie Lunzer, president of The Newspaper Guild-CWA: "Our ability to get a seat on the committee ensures that the voice of Tribune Company's workers will get heard in the proceedings."

Other members of the creditors' committee include major banks and suppliers, including JPMorgan Chase Bank, Merrill Lynch Capital Corp., Deutsche Bank Trust, Warner Bros. Television, Vertis and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. At a meeting Dec. 18 following the naming of committee members, the group interviewed several law firms, selecting Chadbourne & Parke as counsel to the committee.

Robert Paul, of Zwerdling, Paul, Kahn & Wolly, is the Guild's representative on the committee.

The creditors' committee also chose representatives of JPMorgan and Warner Bros. TV as committee co-chairs, and was meeting today to interview investment advisers. It also will draft a set of by-laws to govern its activities as it prepares for the next court hearing, scheduled for Jan. 5.

Approximately 60 Guild members have taken buyouts at the Sun over the past year. Another 300 Guild members continue to work at the newspaper, which is the only one of Tribune's daily newspapers to have a unionized newsroom. An additional 1,000 or so employees in other parts of Tribune operations are represented by the Teamsters.

SOURCE The Newspaper Guild-CWA

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