NATION IN BRIEF : MICHIGAN : Detroit Papers Merge as Strike Talks Go On

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The two daily newspapers in Detroit launched their long-delayed partial merger, as union and management officials resumed contract talks. Publishers of the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News said they expected to reach an agreement with five of the newspapers' six unions by a 12:01 a.m. Thursday strike deadline. The press operators' Graphics Communications International Union ratified a contract Sunday. Union members are seeking raises totaling $110 a week during the 2 1/2-year contract, plus a three-week pay bonus, said Louis Mleczko, president of Local 22 of the Newspaper Guild. The average weekly salary of all workers at the two newspapers, excluding benefits, is about $570.

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