My first thought, when I heard about the tentative agreement struck
by management and the Boston Newspaper Guild last night, was that Guild
head Dan Totten must be patting himself on the back right now. After
all, Totten's non-endorsement of the contract proposal rejected by the
Guild last month was predicated on the assumption that he could get a better offer from the Times Co. if his membership just gave him the chance.
But did he? Yes, the current pay-cut proposal--8 percent when an unpaid
furlough is factored in, as opposed to 10 percent in the contract
rejected last month--is lower. As a result, though, the benefit cuts
are more severe.
Now recall that, earlier this month, some
Guild members were actually arguing that the benefit cuts contained in
the proposal that was rejected on June 8--which were less severe than those contained in the new contract offer--were so onerous that the Times Co.'s threatened 23-percent pay cut was actually preferable.