By: BOB SALSBERG
Management of The Boston Globe has proposed that wages for the newspaper’s largest union be slashed about 23 percent to gain concessions of $10 million and keep the newspaper from closing.
The Globe, on its Web site, reported on what management called its “last best offer” Tuesday evening as negotiations resumed between officials of The New York Times Co., the Globe’s parent, and the Boston Newspaper Guild. A person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed the story to The Associated Press.
The Guild has offered a 3.5 percent pay cut for the 700 editorial, advertising and business employees it represents, plus three unpaid furlough days, for a total salary reduction of just under 5 percent. It said its offer represents more than the $10 million in concessions sought.
The Globe reported that the 23 percent wage reduction was first presented during a marathon negotiating session on Sunday. The Globe said a spokesman for the newspaper, Robert Powers, declined comment. Powers could not be reached by the Associated Press.
The company had set a deadline of midnight Sunday to reach agreement with its unions to make $20 million in cuts. Times Co. struck agreements with six of seven unions at the Globe. Talks stalled with the guild, but management backed off ? at least temporarily ? on a threat to file a notice required by federal law to begin the process of shutting down the newspaper.
The two sides gathered Tuesday night for further talks at a location outside Boston.
The guild said it had offered more than the $10 million in concessions demanded from it by the Times Co., but that did not include changes to the job guarantees. At least one of the smaller unions agreed to changes in the guarantees for its members, but the guild’s president, Daniel Totten, has called ending that job protection a “nonstarter.”
Nearly 470 employees across six unions have the guarantees, including about 190 Newspaper Guild members. Most got the promises in a contract ratified in 1994, shortly after the Times Co. bought the Globe for $1.1 billion, in exchange for other concessions at the time. Workers can still be fired for cause, but the newspaper says the guarantees reduce its ability to pare its operational structure.
The Times Co., which overall lost $74.5 million in the first quarter, has said that of all its newspaper properties, the Globe has been the most dramatically affected by the recession, the advertising downturn and the migration of readers online. The Globe had $50 million in operating losses in 2008 and is projected to lose $85 million this year.
Management said in a statement early Monday that it was disappointed it did not have a deal with the guild, and said it was evaluating its alternatives under both the union contract and applicable law.