BOSTON--Negotiators announced a "memorandum of understanding" yesterday for publisher Rupert Murdoch to buy the Boston Herald American, but said the newspaper's unions must come to terms first.
"We have come to this city to try to preserve this newspaper and to try to preserve as many jobs as we can," said Bob Page, vice president of Murdoch's News America Publishing.
Page said bargaining with the 11 unions at the 250,000-circulation morning tabloid would "take place in privacy," and gave no other details.
The announcement came after an hour-long meeting with 24 union representatives.
"The unions have made themselves available to the Murdoch people for negotiations and will continue to make themselves available," said Chuck Jennings, president of Teamsters Local 259.
Both union and Murdoch representatives declined comment on details of the sale, saying only that more information would be available in the Herald American's Thursday edition.
Representatives of Heart Corp. which owns the newspaper, left the session without making a statement.
Last weekend, the rival Boston Globe reported that Murdoch wants to make substantial personnel cuts in the tabloid's mechanical departments and eliminate job protection for senior editorial workers. The Globe said Murdoch had given editorial union leaders until Nov. 30 to obtain agreement from rank and file members.
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Martin Fischbein, vice president and assistant general manager of the New York Post Murdoch's U.S. flagship paper, said Murdoch was in Australia, where he has extensive holdings.
Murdoch also has publishing interests in Great Britain and the United States, including the New York Post, the weekly tabloid Star, San Antonio Express and News, the Village Voice and New York Magazine.