The Chronicle narrowly averted a strike with the mechanics who maintain the paper’s presses and management disclosed that the paper will have losses in 2006 in the “tens of millions.” A story Thursday by staff writer George Raine said a strike by the 31-member International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District Lodge 190 was averted Wednesday by a seven-day contract extension. If the mechanics had walked out, the union representing 237 press operators would have supported the strike by not crossing the mechanic’s picket line. The Chronicle had retained replacement machinists and press operators, and was prepared to publish the newspaper in the event of a strike, said Publisher Frank Vega (pictured). The press operators union is also negotiating a new contract with the paper. At the end of the story, the Chron notes that in 2005 the paper lost $65 million in large part due to shrinking classified advertising. Vega is quoted as saying the losses this year aren’t as great but will be in the “tens of millions” of dollars.