to extend today’s deadline for reaching agreement on millions of
dollars in concessions after revealing that an accounting mistake by
management has suddenly removed $4.5 million in possible givebacks from
The error, which leaders of the Boston Newspaper Guild said was
revealed to them late Wednesday night, complicates already difficult
negotiations aimed at saving the Globe, which is projected to lose some
$85 million this year.
The paper’s owner, The New York
Times Co. has set today as the deadline for reaching agreement on $20
million in concessions from the paper’s unions, including $10 million
from the Guild, which represents more than 600 editorial, advertising,
and business office workers.
The Times Co. has threatened to shutter the Globe unless it gains the union concessions.
Management had originally given the Guild a menu of possible cuts that
totaled about $14 million from which the Guild could choose $10
million, according to union officials. But in making those
calculations, the company mistakenly included the salaries and benefits
of 80 Guild employees who have left the paper since Jan. 1 through
buyouts, layoffs, and resigna tions, union officials said.
“[Globe publisher Steve] Ainsley lost the newsroom last night,” this
staffer says. “People are furious… Overnight, people have been
emailing like crazy about this. Management has done the impossible:
they’ve reunited the Boston Newspaper Guild.”
hundred reporters are questioning the Times Co.’s math on
everything–on whether $85 million dollars [the amount the Globe will
allegedly lose this year] is the real number,” the staffer adds. “It’s
outrageous. I don’t think we now have the basis of trust that it
requires to make an agreement. You don’t discover genuine accounting
errors at 11 p.m. on Wednesday night.”
About goddamn time. The Newspaper Guild has been rolling over for this sort of fearmongering nonsense for years. It was hard for me to support unionizing my old paper, a subject which came up every year or so, because I saw very little to convince me the union would actually be able to protect journalism and jobs when newspaper owners were able to wave the threat of closure in their faces and get whatever they wanted anyway.
It’s about time the Guild started fighting back. They’re quite possibly the only organization with enough members and enough pull to make the bullshit money management the issue of the day for newspapers, and Boston’s a good place to start that conversation. Enough of this “just one more round of cuts and that will make us magically profitable” crapola. Enough. Talk about this honestly or shut the hell up.