‘Boston Globe,’ Guild Reach 5-Year Labor Pact

By: Mark Fitzgerald

After talks the union local chief described as “long and difficult,” The Boston Globe and Boston Newspaper Guild Local 31245 today announced a tentative agreement on a five-year contract that will increase the wages of newsroom and advertising employees by about 7.5%.

The two sides said the increase reflected “the pattern increases in place with the Globe’s other unions.” In addition, the editors, reporters, photographers and ad salespeople represented by the guild will receive a $12 per week pay increase on Jan. 1, 2005, plus another $12.50 per week increase the following July 1. The sides said this represented a combined increase of 21.4%.

While the pact is for five years, it will expire on New Year’s Eve 2005 because it is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2001. Negotiations had dragged on for three and a half years.

In a joint statement, the two sides said the agreement gives management “significant new operating flexibility” while increasing funding for the Guild Health Plan “that will result in significantly reduced health care payroll contributions” by union members.

“The new agreement represents a fair balancing of the competitive needs of the Globe in a changing marketplace with the needs of our employees to have appropriate protections with such changes as well as addressing the rising health care costs impacting everyone,” Globe Senior Vice President Greg Thornton, the newspaper’s lead negotiator, said in a statement.

“It was a long and difficult negotiation but the union’s negotiating committee feels this tentative agreement brings stability to our health fund, which was one of our primary goals,” Steve Richards, local president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, said in a statement. “We also feel it protects our members and our union while giving the Globe added business flexibility.”

Both sides said they would refuse additional comment until the Guild membership ratification vote, scheduled for Aug. 5.

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