WEYMOUTH - Boston Globe management and the paper's largest union negotiated past midnight this morning and are set to resume bargaining later today as they try to end a bitter standoff over deep wage cuts and other concessions, union and management officials said.
Negotiations resume at 3 p.m.
Management and union officials were locked in intense talks for much of Monday, trying to end a bitter standoff over deep wage cuts and other concessions, union and management officials said.
What was supposed to be an information session at a labor office here to discuss a company-imposed 23 percent wage cut appears to have turned into a marathon bargaining session.
Leaders of the Boston Newspaper Guild brought an "offer of resolution" to management, prompting deep discussions over the mix of wage and benefit cuts needed to achieve the $10 million in savings demanded by the paper's owner, The New York Times Co.
The talks, which continued well into the night, were held just a week after the Guild narrowly rejected a $10 million package of concessions, and a day after the company, in response, imposed the 23 percent wage cut on the nearly 700 editorial, advertising, and business office employees represented by the Guild.
Guild and company officials declined to comment on the progress of the negotiations.
The discussions also follow the news that the Times Co. is seeking a potential sale of the 137-year-old newspaper. The Globe reported last week that at least three local buyers have expressed interest.
"Getting the Guild contract resolved puts everything on an even keel," said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank in St. Petersburg, Fla. "If it's not resolved, you have uncertainty about what’s going to happen, ongoing labor unrest, and potentially a big worry about any liabilities for not bargaining in good faith."
Monday's talks unfolded on the eve of a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board. The union filed an unfair labor practice charge against management following the 23 percent wage cut. The first hearing in what is usually a long process is scheduled for today in Boston.
The Guild is the only major union that has not approved concessions sought by the Times Co., which in early April threatened to close the money-losing paper unless it could gain a total of $20 million in savings from Globe unions. The Globe was projected to lose $85 million without significant cost reductions, according to the Times Co. Unions representing press operators, mailers, and delivery truck drivers, as well as several smaller unions, have ratified wage and benefit cuts totaling slightly more than $10 million.
An agreement with the Guild would signal an end to three months of labor tumult at New England's largest newspaper. Still, the paper's future remains unclear with a potential sale and uncertain business model.
Potential bidders for the Globe include Stephen Pagliuca, a private equity executive and Celtics co-owner; Jack Connors, cofounder of a major advertising firm and chairman of Partners HealthCare; and Stephen Taylor, a former Globe executive and member of the family that sold the Globe to The New York Times Co. in 1993.
The outlook for the newspaper industry has hardly brightened. The Internet continues to draw readers and advertising from print and other traditional media, even as the worst recession since the Great Depression continues to drag on.
In the first quarter of the year, advertising revenues plunged more than 30 percent at the Times Co.'s New England Media Group, which is dominated by the Globe.
(By Robert Gavin, Globe staff)