It’s About Time

There’s some fight in them in Boston:

The Boston Globe’s largest union last night called on TheNew York Times Co.
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 table.

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.

They’re not having it:

“[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.”

“Now several
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.


4 thoughts on “It’s About Time

  1. Somebody has to pay for the Boston Globe acquisition. Somebody has to pay for the new New York Times headquarter building. The New York Times is a real estate investment company that runs newspapers as a sideline to promote their wares. When the main business goes into the red, somebody has got to pay, usually some innocent bystander.

  2. i was listening to NPR in the car earlier and they were talking about this stuff.
    the consensus was that the blame for the globe going under is the biggest union balking at giving up the no-layoff provision in their contract, which the other unions have already said they would give up.
    bad management has brought the paper to the point of bankruptcy but it will be the fault of the workers if the paper fails.
    from where i sit, this economic crisis has been a boon only to union busting.

  3. See, this is what bothers me. Say we give the management the benefit of the doubt and accept that this was an honest mistake.
    The fuck? Is it any wonder, then, that they’re 85 kazillion in the hole? And they have the gall to ask the rank and file to take cuts when they can’t account their way out of a paper bag?
    And that’s if we are really, really kind to management and just assume they’re fuckups, rather than evil demon unionbusting bastards from hell.
    If I were with the Guild, I’d be checking every management type at the door for the pointy tail and cloven hooves.

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