GateHouse bankruptcy proceeding smoothly

Barring an unexpected development, GateHouse Media will proceed smoothly through its pre-packaged bankruptcy. In the meantime the company should continue operating without any complications.

David R. Hock, an attorney with the firm Cohen, Weiss and Simon, is monitoring the GateHouse bankruptcy case for The Newspaper Guild. He offered this update:

“The Court entered a consensual cash collateral order and cancelled the scheduled hearings.  This allows the company to continue operating during the bankruptcy.  It looks right now as though this case is continuing toward a confirmation of the pre-packaged plan.  The objection deadline is October 30 and the hearing on confirmation is November 6.”

The company has been bargaining with the UMG for a first contract here in Rockford and Freeport. GateHouse has decimated the newsrooms at Register Star and Journal-Standard with round after round of staff reductions.

GateHouse recently agreed to a three-year contract extension with the United Media Guild unit in Peoria. That contract protects the status quo for the copy desk, which was protected from outsourcing in the previous collective bargaining agreement.

The UMG is also negotiating a first contract at the State Journal-Register in Springfield. Our members there have begun rallying public support for the Guild’s efforts to protect quality journalism in that market.

The UMG’s Pekin unit, like many GateHouse properties, has a contract expiring next year. Soon we will begin preparing for our negotiations there.

The UMG is just one of several local unions representing employees at GateHouse properties. We have pledged to work with other locals and the TNG sector office to provide the best possible representation in this difficult times.

GateHouse hopes to come of bankruptcy with a new company that will continue add new properties. Unfortunately, that will lead to the wholesale reduction of journalists working in those markets.

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