Union members at The Seattle Times have voted 278-61 to accept a severance package negotiated between the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild...

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Union members at The Seattle Times have voted 278-61 to accept a severance package negotiated between the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild and the newspaper.

As part of an effort to drive down costs, up to 110 jobs, including as many as 55 union positions, are being cut throughout the company. The Times is expected to begin notifying affected workers next week.

The vote, which began Friday and ended yesterday, cleared the way for the paper to begin soliciting voluntary job terminations from union employees this week. The results were announced jointly yesterday by the newspaper and the union, which represents about 700 Times workers.

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“It was essentially an agreement for The Times to provide enhanced severance benefits for voluntary and involuntary layoffs through April 30,” said Liz Brown, the union’s administrative officer.

Under the agreement, Brown said Times employees who are laid off voluntarily or involuntarily will get up to one year of severance pay, depending on the length of their employment. The paper will also pay half their medical insurance for 18 months, she said.

Unaffiliated employees were offered similar packages earlier.

The layoffs are part of a package of cost-cutting measures The Times says it must take after years of losses at the paper, including more than $12 million last year.


— Bill Richards