Globe union to Times Co: negotiate publicly, share revenue; let us talk with potential buyers

Here's the latest statement from the Boston Newspaper guild, the Globe's largest union, on what it is and isn't prepared to offer in negotiations with the NYT Co. 

The requests that jumped out at me are flagged in the title of this post: the Guild wants to negotiate publicly, enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with the Times Co. (as a precursor to negotiations, if I read correctly); and be allowed to negotiate with any prospective buyers if a sale's in the works rather than hammering out concessions with the Times Co. itself.

These strike me as ambitious requests--and exactly how I'd expect the Guild to begin. That said, I wonder if the request to negotiate with possible purchasers and not the Times Co. (assuming a sale is in the works) could end up *precluding* such a sale, particularly if the union pursues this point aggressively.

If any Guild members out there are willing to weigh in, I'm curious: what's your response to these proposals/demands? Are you heartened? Disappointed? Something in between?


The Boston Newspaper Guild today offered to negotiate immediate, significant labor cost savings measures with the New York Times Co. and Boston Globe management.
The Guild is committed to preserving the vital community asset that is the Boston Globe, while at the same time ensuring that the hard-working men and women who make it one of the premier newspapers in America are treated fairly.
This is a period of tremendous challenge to the entire media industry, and sacrifices will once again be necessary to help ensure a stable future for the Globe. The Boston Newspaper Guild knows this all too well – as its membership has repeatedly made sacrifices for the good of the Globe even as management continues to enjoy lucrative financial rewards.
The New York Times Co. and Globe management are seeking mid-term bargaining and contract modification, and their actions have not been taken under the appropriate contract reopener provisions. The Boston Newspaper Guild has no contractual or statutory obligation to participate and can require compliance of the New York Times Co. and Globe management with the contract.
While reserving all contractual and statutory rights in all such regards, the Guild will agree to participate in immediate, sustained, substantive negotiations for labor cost savings in accordance with and subject to the following:
o       The New York Times Co. and Globe management are seeking immediate cost savings. Subject matter having no cost saving attribution will not be subject to negotiation. If the purpose of the Globe’s current initiative is to “streamline” the enterprise for sale, the Guild proposes to deal directly with potential buyer(s) as identified by the Times Co. and Globe management.
o       Unless there is agreement on any reductions in labor cost, there shall be no change in compensation or benefit level as now provided by the contract.
o       Any agreed-upon labor cost reduction will terminate as of the agreed-upon date, and, as of that date, compensation and benefit levels shall be restored to the levels existing prior to the reduction(s). The Guild may agree to extend or to otherwise modify such reduction(s) for a further period.
o       The New York Times Co. and Globe management will negotiate a revenue-sharing guarantee with the Guild.
o       By agreeing to labor cost reductions, the Guild, on behalf of its members, is investing in and partnering with the New York Times Co. and Boston Globe. Therefore, the Guild shall appoint representatives having voice and meaningful participatory role in policy and operational decision-making within all Globe operations covered by The Guild’s bargaining agreement.
o       The long-term stability and financial health of the Boston Globe is a matter of significant public interest. Therefore, negotiations between The Guild and the New York Times Co. and Globe management shall be conducted in an open, public session – with reasonable facilitating conditions and measures agreed to by all parties.

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