The Boston Globe sets the battle lines

Management versus employees – it’s old story but in the case of the Boston Globe it could been the possible death of yet another newspaper. The Globe, which is owned by The New York Times, has said that it needed to come up with $20 million in annual savings in order to keep the paper running. The most recent negotiations with the Boston Newspaper Guild, the union representing the Globe workers, sought wage concessions and benefit cuts. the threat being that if they didn’t get the concessions from the Guild that the paper would resort to implementing a 23 percent wage reduction for all Guild members.

In a vote last night the Guild members voted 277 to 265 against a new contract that included the concessions. This morning the Boston Globe published this following statement:

We are disappointed that in a very close vote of 277 to 265 the Boston Newspaper Guild did not ratify the Globe’s final proposal. As we have stated, the $10 million in cost savings from this multifaceted proposal is essential to The Boston Globe’s financial future.

This evening we have sent a letter to the Guild stating that as a result of the rejection of this proposal, we have reverted to our alternative Final Record Proposal which provides for a 23% wage reduction for all Guild members. This will secure the $10 million in costs savings needed from the Guild, and will allow the Globe to reach the targeted $20 million in savings needed from all our major unions.

Since the parties are at an impasse, the Globe will implement the wage reduction effective next week. We have told the Guild that we are available to meet any day this week to review implementation of the pay cut.

We regret having to take this action, but have no financially viable alternative.

The comments on the posted announcement are probably not exactly the encouragement that the paper or its staff would like to see as most of what I read could be summed up by this comment:

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Good Bye Globe, don’t let the door hit you on the way out – Frank