Boston Globe, still alive

May 4, 2009

When we went to bed late last night, the state of play on The Boston Globe didn’t look so hot. Since then… it’s still not looking so hot.

The short story: Some of the Globe’s union appear to have reached tentative accords with the Globe and its parent company, The New York Times, which has threatened to shut down the money-losing paper if it doesn’t win $20 million in concessions. The Boston Newspaper Guild, which is on the hook for $10 million alone, said it has offered more than it has to, but it appears to not have been enough so far. The Times Co, meanwhile, said it would file a federal government notice that it intends to shut the paper. The big issue? Lifetime job guarantees that the Times wants to eliminate.

Here’s the latest from the sleepless reporters at its smaller competitor, the Boston Herald:

Boston Newspaper Guild president Dan Totten left Sacred Heart School at 6:45 a.m. today – nearly seven hours after the midnight deadline – and said the union was taking a “break” from negotiations. The Times had extended the deadline to come up with concessions from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday. “We continue to negotiate in good faith. Negotiations are ongoing and we’ll reconvene at a later time. We’re just going to take a little break for now and move on from here,” Totten said shortly before 6:45 a.m. today. Totten said it was “unlikely” negotiations would resume today and he would not comment on whether the Times had extended the deadline again.

And here’s the Globe reporting on its website:

Shortly before 4:30 a.m. this morning, the Teamsters Local 1 president Mary White, representing 245 mailers at the Globe, said the union had reached a tentative agreement that included $5 million in concessions and changes in the lifetime job guarantee protecting 145 of its members. … The mailers’ agreement followed another post-deadline deal reached with Teamsters Local 259, representing 210 Boston Globe drivers, according to Ralph Giallanella, the union’s secretary-treasurer. Giallanella would not disclose the details, but said union leaders came to an agreement worth about $2.5 million in concessions. Still, Globe unions, negotiating almost five hours after the deadline passed, have more work to do. The lifetime job guarantees will likely continue to be an issue with the final two unions still seeking an agreement – the pressmen’s union and the Boston Newspaper Guild. And both are now negotiating under growing pressure to meet management’s demands.

Bottom line: Today’s edition of The Boston Globe will not turn into a collector’s item. Nevertheless, the “WARN” notice that the Times says it will file means that, absent any agreement in the coming hours or days, sometime in early July you might want to make sure you grab a copy of that sure-to-be special edition. It may be just in time for Independence Day, which would be an especially bitter pill for the city that helped spark the events that led to the founding of the United States.

Keep an eye on

  • Warren Buffett loves his newspapers, reads five a day, can’t do without them, wouldn’t lift a finger to save the ones he already has money in. (Reuters)
  • The New York Times could make an incremental $40 million a year if it raises its newsstand price, something that could happen as soon as this week. (Financial Times)
  • Discovery Communications’ quartery results emphasize how good it is to be in the cable business during the recession. (Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

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As a newspaper employee elsewhere in the U.S., I am never elated to see this. No one wins.

Posted by somewhere in us | Report as abusive