Guild Takes ‘A Break’ From ‘Boston Globe’ Negotiations

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By: Joe Strupp

The Boston Globe’s future remained unclear Monday as the paper’s pressmen?s union reached a tentative agreement with owners at the New York Times Co., but the Newspaper Guild took a break from bargaining after the company rejected its latest offer, which included $10 million in cuts to salaries and benefits, the Globe reported.

Associated Press, however, reports a guild official believed talks would resume later this week. Last night at midnight was supposed to be the drop dead point.

The union and management ended negotiations at about 8 a.m. and “should resume in the next day or so,” Cosmo Macero, a spokesman for the Newspaper Guild, told AP.

“The paper will not be gone in a couple of days,” Globe spokesman Robert Powers on Monday told E&P when asked about the immediate future. On the guild negotiations, he noted, “They have taken a break, we both have.”

He declined further comment, but said more information would be forthcoming later this morning on the status of the negotiations.

The owners had earlier asked for $10 million in concessions which the guild said it, indeed, had met.

Gregory L. Thornton, a Globe senior vice president for human resources and management’s chief negotiator, said this morning that “substantial progress” had been made after the weekend negotiations, the Globe reported.

“The New York Times Co. issued an ultimatum last night, saying it was prepared to begin the process of shuttering the 137-year-old newspaper if its unions do not agree to major financial and contract concessions, including the abolition of lifetime job guarantees for some workers,” the paper reported Monday. “The closing process would be triggered by a filing, notifying the state of its intention to shut the Globe within 60 days.”

“We have no plans to file a notice at this moment,” Thornton told the Globe as he left the negotiations.

The Guild represents more than 600 editorial, advertising, and business office workers, and revealed management rejected a proposal that included a 3.5% pay cut for most employees, an unpaid furlough, an increase in the early retirement age, and a reduction in pension and 401(a) contributions, the Globe reported.

“They rejected our on-the-record offer,” Guild president Daniel Totten stated. “It?s the same bullying and pressure tactics. We remain here in good faith.”

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for the Times Co., declined to comment this morning.

The Boston Newspaper Printing Pressmen Union, however, announced this morning that it had reached a tentative deal with management, according to union president Martin Callaghan, the Globe reported.

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