Globe won't negotiate further with union on cuts
Boston Globe management said today that it has ‘‘no interest’’ in bargaining further with the paper’s largest union over a package of concessions and will move ahead with imposing a 23 percent pay cut on members of the Boston Newspaper Guild.
The company imposed the draconian wage cut after the Guild, which represents nearly 700 editorial, advertising, and business office workers, last night rejected $10 million in wage and benefit cuts. In response to a request by the Guild to rescind the unilateral wage cut and reopen bargaining, Gregory Thornton, the Globe’s chief negotiator, said management believes further discussions would be futile.
‘‘The parties have bargained and are at impasse,’’ Thornton said in a letter to Guild president Daniel Totten. ‘‘Therefore, the Globe will not rescind its ‘declaration of impasse’ or withdraw its notice of implementation.’’
In an earlier letter to Thornton, Totten said the union believes the pay cut violates labor laws, as well as terms of its contract. In the letter, Totten called for the two sides to engage in mediation to settle the dispute.
‘‘The Guild requests that The Globe/NYT rescind its unilateral declaration of impasse and notice of implementation of the wage reduction so that, while reserving all contractual and statutory issues, the Guild has the opportunity to negotiate as to the wage reduction alternative proposal,’’ Totten wrote.
Meanwhile, a group of Globe reporters sent a letter to New York Times Co. chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., imploring him to intervene.
‘‘We’re asking you to call off the lawyers, head off a bitter fight, and come forward with a plan that would attract a bit more support from the Guild,’’ the reporters wrote. ‘‘Many of us voted against the contract because we saw it as inequitable – that we were being asked to take a steeper cut than management. If you could find a middle ground that would provide more equity – such as making our pay cut equivalent to that of management – I’m sure you’ll find significantly more support.’’
Catherine Mathis, the Times Co.’s spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Also today, the Times Co. issued a statement saying that with the 23 percent pay cut the company has removed the threat of closing the money-losing paper. The Times Co. has said it needs $20 million in concessions from the Globe’s unions, or else it may need to shutter the paper. Without the savings, the Globe is on track to lose $85 million this year because of the recession and the migration of readers online.
‘‘Because we have achieved the $20 million in savings we needed, we do not foresee closure at this time and are focused on executing the Globe’s turnaround plan,’’ Mathis said in a statement.
Six other unions have ratified contracts that total slightly more than $10 million in wage and benefit cuts. But the Guild on Monday voted 277 to 265 to reject a package of cutbacks that included a pay cut of 8.4 percent, the elimination of guaranteed employment for some workers, and five days of unpaid leave.
(By Robert Gavin, Globe staff)