Globe threatened with shutdown

A reliable source tells DQM that the New York Times Co. has threatened to close the Boston Globe if the paper's unions don't agree to $20 million in concessions in the next 30 days. Possible concessions include pay cuts, the end of pension contributions by the NYT Co., and the elimination of the lifetime job guarantees some union members enjoy.

I'm told the threat was made at a meeting that NYT Co. and Globe executives had with the paper's unions yesterday morning--and that the situation will be reported in a front-page story in tomorrow's paper.

Globe spokesman Bob Powers declined comment this afternoon.

INSTANT UPDATE: Dan Totten, head of the Boston Newspaper Guild, sent the following message to his membership this afternoon:

Dear Guild membership,

I feel it necessary to let you know of a meeting the Globe's 13 unions had with the NYTimes and Boston Globe management Thursday. First, this was a confidential meeting - and this union is nothing without its word. So I intend to keep the details of the meeting private as promised by that agreement. Unfortunately, other people have not and rumors are circulating.

Here is what I can tell you. The Globe and NYTimes management painted a not-unexpected dire picture of the Boston Globe's financial situation. They are looking for financial concessions from all unions.
Again, this is not unexpected given the recent 5 percent pay cut for managers across the company (that 5% management/exempt pay cut comes with an additional 10 paid personal days for management/exempt - making any giveback a virtual wash).

We are now beginning to enter in discussions with management about what they are looking for from us and examining savings opportunities for them. The BNG just lost a significant number of people over the last 3 weeks across both news and business areas and those cuts need to be factored into any future discussions between Guild - Globe.

As negotiations go forward, we will keep you posted. My office door is always open, although as you can understand, there tends to be long lines outside these days.


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