Globe union reveals management demands include salary cut

by Joe Strupp, Editor and Publisher, Editor and Publisher

The New York Times Co., which has threatened to shut down The Boston Globe, is seeking union concessions that may include pay cuts reaching 20%, the removal of seniority rules and lifetime job guarantees, and millions in cuts to company contributions for retirement and health plans.

The Globe reported today that the paper's proposal was explained by union leaders at a Wednesday night meeting of the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents some 700 editorial, newsroom, and business office workers, about half the Globe's union staff.

"The Times Co. is seeking $10 million in savings from the Guild, half of the $20 million the company says it needs from the Globe's 13 unions to stave off a shutdown of the paper," the Globe revealed. "Without the union concessions and other cutbacks, the Globe is projected to lose $85 million this year, following a loss of about $50 million last year, according to an employee briefed on union discussions."

The story added that the list of management requests "was greeted with anger, concern, and sadness by some 200 union members who attended the meeting. Some were defiant. Others called on colleagues to recognize that sacrifices would have to be made. Many said they wanted to see management give up more in pay and benefits before they accept concessions."

Times Co. and Globe officials declined to comment in the story. The union and management plan to meet again Tuesday.

The list of possible givebacks includes pay cuts, which could range from 5% to 20%.

Other concessions proposed include the elimination of contributions to the pension fund and 401(k) retirement plans and a $1.5 million reduction in the company's contribution to healthcare. The company also proposed the elimination of sick days, a 50% cut in severance pay for layoffs, and the lengthening of the workweek to 40 hours from 37.5 hours.

"Among the most controversial proposals are eliminating contract provisions that grant lifetime job protection to about 170 veteran Guild members and seniority rules that govern layoffs," the story added. "Under the rules, the most recent hires are the first to be laid off."
Daniel Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, called the seniority proposals "nonstarters" in the report.

article originally published at Editor and Publisher.

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