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Philadelphia newspaper workers protest ahead of contract deadline

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PHILADELPHIA — Workers from The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News hoisted protest signs and passed around a cardboard cutout of Pope Francis while rallying for a new contract ahead of a Saturday deadline.

Several hundred employees and union supporters marched and chanted Thursday outside the newspapers' offices in downtown Philadelphia.

The company's biggest union voted earlier this month to approve strike preparations after contract talks stalled over health care costs and seniority protections.

The local Newspaper Guild of America said the 263-to-19 vote shows newsroom workers and other members are serious about those issues.

Ownership of the newspapers has changed repeatedly over the past decade. They're now owned by philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, who made his fortune in cable TV.

Philadelphia Media Network insists all three outlets would continue publishing.

PHOTO: Members of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and their supporters demonstrate outside their offices Thursday, June 25, 2015, in Philadelphia. Members of the local Newspaper Guild of America are in contract negotiations with the papers' owner.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Members of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and their supporters demonstrate outside their offices Thursday, June 25, 2015, in Philadelphia. Members of the local Newspaper Guild of America are in contract negotiations with the papers' owner. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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PHOTO: Members of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and their supporters demonstrate outside their offices Thursday, June 25, 2015, in Philadelphia. Members of the local Newspaper Guild of America are in contract negotiations with the papers' owner.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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