Fairfax Media will move sub-editing work from regional Australian newspapers offshore to New Zealand, with 66 local jobs affected.
The publisher announced on its Newcastle Herald and Illawarra Mercury websites that editorial production work for those papers and associated community titles would be taken over by Fairfax Editorial Services in New Zealand.
No reporting or photographic positions would be affected, the company said.
The Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) says Fairfax staff will hold meetings on Wednesday to consider a response.
"There is a lot of concern about the impact this will have," federal secretary Chris Warren said.
He said it "defies belief" that management would send positions overseas.
In a statement, he said: "It is our belief that the entire staff should always be embedded in the community to enable the newspaper to tell the local story accurately."
The union said affected staff would be offered voluntary redundancies or redeployment, or face forced redundancy.
In 2011, sub-editing at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald, The Age and The Sunday Age was moved to Pagemasters, a subsidiary of Australian Associated Press (AAP).
Fairfax and News Limited are major AAP stakeholders.
The company says it is still speaking to affected employees about the plans, which would impact upon its Fairfax Regional Media (FRM) division.
The proposed changes would position the company to better take advantage of opportunities within digital media, Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood said.
"Our Fairfax of the Future plan to reshape the business is far-reaching, and underpins the change proposed today," he said in a statement.
"While the proposed changes would necessarily have a substantial impact on our people, we are determined to deliver on the transformation of our business."
FRM chief executive and publisher Allan Browne said the affected newspapers would "remain high-quality and a vibrant part of the communities they serve".A Fairfax spokesman declined to comment on how much the plans were expected to save.
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