‘Boston Globe’ Reaches Agreement With Six Unions, Pressures Guild

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By: Joe Strupp

The Boston Globe has reached agreement on concessions with six of its seven unions, according to a statement issued Monday, which puts some blame on the Newspaper Guild for not reaching a new deal to avoid shutdown or sale of the paper.

The statement, however, adds that the paper will not go ahead with threatened measures that would lead to a closing of the Globe, but hinted that such actions could occur soon.

Guild members, meanwhile, have been tracking negotiations on a Facebook page and recently posted a lengthy list of $10 million in concessions the union had offered this weekend. Those included items ranging from a pension contribution cutback to fewer holidays. This $10 million figure was what the owners originally wanted, so it is a mystery right now why it was rejected. More to come on that.

The Globe statement is posted below, followed by the guild Facebook posting:

Statement From The Boston Globe

We are very pleased to have reached agreements with six of the seven unions that were involved in recent negotiations. This includes agreements with the drivers, mailers, pressmen, the electricians, machinists, and technical services group. As a result of these agreements, which are subject to ratification by union members, we expect to achieve both the workplace flexibility and the financial savings that we sought from these unions. We are not, therefore, making a filing today under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. We appreciate the productive and cooperative approach demonstrated by the leadership of these unions throughout these difficult negotiations.

We are disappointed, however, that we have not yet been able to reach an agreement with the Guild. Because of that, we are evaluating our alternatives under both the Guild contract and applicable law to achieve as quickly as possible the workplace flexibility and remaining cost savings we need to help put The Globe on a sound financial footing.


Guild Facebook posting:

Before I leave, here is the $10 million proposal the guild made to the company earlier this evening. Note the company rejected this.

1. Raise early retirement age from 52 to 55 ($1 million in savings)
2. Reduce pension accrual from 1.8 to 1.6 ($1 million in savings
3. Eliminate 401 (a) $450,000
4. 1.3 percent furlough for all employees ($659,750)
5. 50 percent reduction to shift contributions to health fund $310,000
6. Wage cut for non-tier II employees (including boston.com) – 3.5 percent
($1.378 million)
7. Wage Cut for Tier II employees – 1 percent ($36,580 in savings)
8. Elimination of co-op and summer intern positions ($452,563)
9. Elimination of active employee life insurance FT $70,000
10. Elimination of part time life insurance ($2,250)
11. Elimination of retiree death benefit ($52,000)
12. Elimination of tuition reimbursement ($23,425) .
13. Elimination of Eye Care Program $19,327
14. Elimination of P/T sick/birthday holiday ($165,621)
15. elimination of MLK Day/Columbus Day holidays ($331,242)
16. Increase to 40 hour work week ($2.507 million)
17. Vacation accrual changes ($250,00)
18. elimination of retiree healthacre 65+ ($995,400)
19. Elimination of new quid ($200,00)
20. Elimination of messenger quid ($100,000)

This is supposed to come to a grand total of $10,007,882.

The proposal also calls for

-in the event the 5 percent pay reduction for globe management is restore in whole or in part, then the same percentage of reduction shall be restored for The Guild
-A joint management committee shall be created to review, discuss and if consensus is reached make recommendations concerning the Globe’s business plans for departments covered by the Guild contract. The committee shall meet at least quarterly and shall be provided with relevant information, subject to a confidentiality agreement
-A profit sharing plan created under which each employee shall receive the following percentages of salary in any year in which Globe EBITDA equals or exceeds the following
1% = $5 million
2% = $10 million
3 % = $20 million
-length of contract (2 years)
-at Globe option, use current contract language mechanism regarding Job Guarantee
-the pension and 401A proposals are made subject to the following: If the management pension is not frozen by September 1, 2009 then the Guild’s bargaining unit pension and 401A benefits will be restored as of that date to the levels existing as of April 29, 2009 with retroactive, make whole components, or if the management pension is frozen by Sept 1, 2009 date, the Guild bargaining unit will be given the same alternative retirement benefits as provided management
-sunsets at end of contract
-If the Globe’s effort to reach agreement with all unions is unsuccessful, then these benefit modifications shall be null and void and all benefit levels shall be restored
-bonus money paid to BNG members commensurate to any/and all bonus payments made to NYT management for 2009-2010
-severance packages/notice pay for P/T members — mirror Article VIII P/T language
-ability for News/Editorial employees to earn income at other publications without current restrictions, based on loss of income/wage reductions
-If the purpose of the Globe’s current initiative is to streamline the enterprise for sale, the Guild proposes to deal directly with the potential buyers of Globe upon identification by Globe

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