By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Teamsters at Philadelphia’s two daily newspapers, the Inquirer and Daily News, have approved a new two-year contract.

Teamsters leader John Laigaie says the vote was 169 to 4 because his members understand the realities of a newspaper business in decline.

“We wanted to make sure as best we could to protect their wages and benefits,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

And Laigaie says 24 of his members are applying for a voluntary buyout program being offered by the company.

“For folks who were considering retirement, this is a time at which they could receive extra remuneration if they were to leave,” he explains.  The additional amount, he says, was $25,000.

The two-year contract guarantees the Teamsters’ Local 628 drivers, building service, and security personnel that the owner, Interstate General Media, intends to keep printing the Inquirer and Daily News in the same number of runs over the next two years.

But the company says it needs concessions from other unions as well (see related story).  The paper’s largest union, the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, recently agreed to early talks even though its current contract expires this coming October.

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