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Things haven't been particularly lovely at the offices of the Village Voice, but life at our sole alt-weekly survivor seems to be getting even worse. Late last week, editor Don Forst chucked his cranky feces at the office fan, prompting outrage at new pay cuts, ranging from 25-40%, which will mostly affect senior editors and salaried staffers (freelancers' rates were already slashed prior to last week). The changes aren't in writing (likely be etched in stone by tomorrow) but, considering the staff just settled on a new contract, the union has threatened another walk-out on Tuesday.

So what gives? We've been hearing rumors of a "merger" with the New Times publishing house, which is a bit like the McDonald's of alt-weeklies. Staffers don't know what, exactly, is happening, but perhaps that's because all the email negotiations have been double super-secret secured, thus preventing the leak of any details. Nevertheless, the rumors are not unsubstantiated.

At this point, we hear the New Times and Voice higher-ups are waiting to see if a conglomeration of the two major alternative newsweekly houses would violate any federal laws. If the deal is closed, Voice writers would experience the joy of adhering to New Times policy, which sucks to such an extent that even arts writers must clear their stories with the central office in Denver. Perfect for destroying local arts coverage, no?

Earlier: Village Voice Union Set for Apocalypse [Gawker]
Letter From Village Voice Veteran Robert Christgau [Romenesko]
Village Voice: In Case of Emergency, Break Union [The Reeler]