Village Voice staffers avert strike set for Friday

NEW YORK (AP) — Village Voice staffers have narrowly averted a strike after a contentious round of contract negotiations.

Writer Graham Rayman said the union reached a tentative agreement late Thursday, just hours before a midnight deadline. During negotiations the union had said the paper wanted to reduce health care benefits and stop contributing to retirement funds. Voice writers vowed to publish their own blog in the event of a strike and employees staged "symbolic" walkout Thursday.

Editor-in-chief Tony Ortega had said the union threatens a strike every three years when contracts expire and he was confident they'd come to an agreement.

The agreement is to be presented to the staff Friday morning. Details were not released.

The iconic Voice was founded in 1955 in Greenwich Village and says it's still the largest alternative news weekly in the country.

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