MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) – The Union Leader Corp. has purchased four weekly newspapers in the greater Manchester and Concord areas.

The company, which publishes the state’s largest daily and Sunday papers, bought Neighborhood News, which publishes the weeklies. The Union Leader reported the sale on Thursday.

The weeklies are The Goffstown News, The Bedford Bulletin, The Hooksett Banner and The Bow Times, which cover 14 towns and are distributed free in 18 communities.

They have a combined estimated readership of about 92,000, The Union Leader said.

Journal union approves contract

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Members of the union representing Providence Journal employees approved a proposed eight-year contract on Friday, marking the likely end to four years of often contentious negotiations.

The contract offer, issued by the company Tuesday, was approved by a vote of 238 to 15.

The contract is still contingent on the National Labor Relations Board’s acceptance of it as a settlement of the 27 labor violations an administrative law judge found the Journal had committed. Many were related to the elimination of benefits without bargaining.

“It’s been four years. We’re glad it’s over,” said John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild AFL-CIO, Local 31041.

Hill said he hopes the large margin by which the offer was approved will help convince the NLRB to accept it as a settlement.

Providence Journal General Manager Mark Ryan did not return a call to The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.

Unlike an earlier contract offer, which was voted down in June, the proposal approved Friday had the endorsement of the guild’s executive board. According to Hill, the guild’s leadership did not recommend that offer in part because the contract was contingent on the NLRB expunging its findings that the company committed unfair labor practices.

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