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UPDATE: Citizens' Voice union president 'optimistic' following sale of local newspapers

The Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre is one of four daily newspapers included in Times Shamrock Communications' sale of its newspaper group.
Aimee Dilger
Times Shamrock Communications sold The Times-Tribune of Scranton and The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre as part of a sale of its newspaper group.

The Citizens’ Voice union president says the newspaper group’s new owner will honor the union’s contract.

“We’re pleased that they’re going to honor our collective bargaining agreement,” said Mike Buffer, union president for the Wilkes-Barre paper. “We’re optimistic…everything’s going to stay mostly the same.”

Times-Shamrock Communications sold its newspaper group to Colorado-based MediaNews Group, according to a letter sent to employees today.

The sale includes The Times-Tribune, The Citizens' Voice, the Republican Herald and The Standard-Speaker. It also includes the company's weekly and periodic newspapers, commercial printing operations in Waverly Twp., Absolute Distribution Inc. and Times-Shamrock Creative Services.

The Citizens' Voice union only recently signed their new contract, and Buffer said they will have to renegotiate next year.

"I guess we'll see when we go back to the bargaining table next year," he said.

MediaNews Group is owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Alden has stakes in nearly 200 American newspapers. MediaNews Group is the second-largest owner of newspapers in the United States.

The Citizens’ Voice had been part of Times Shamrock Communications since 2000. The paper was founded in 1978 by striking employees of The Times Leader, which still publishes daily newspapers in Wilkes-Barre.

Buffer said all current news management will remain in place.

“On the news end it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a change,” he said.

Sarah Scinto is the local host of All Things Considered on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.
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