Friday, June 5, 2009

NYT Co.: Boston Globe Closure Is on a Very Real Path

In response to an inquiry by Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix, New York Times Co. spokeswoman Catherine Mathis emailed her comment on the possibility of the Globe's closure yesterday:

“Closure is a very real path for the Company to take. We have said that we need to achieve $20 million in savings from our unions in Boston. At the end of the ratification process (the drivers vote on Sunday and the Guild votes on Monday), we need to have secured the full amount. With the Guild we have two different paths to achieve savings of $10 million. One, ratification of the contract. Two, implementation of a 23 percent wage reduction. The Guild seems to believe it can reject the contract, prevent implementation and thereby force further negotiation. That’s not right. Time is of the essence.”

The backdrop to this is that Globe reporter Brian Mooney has been urging his fellow Boston Newspaper Guild members to vote no on the contract proposal this Monday. He expressed his belief that the Times Co. won't follow through on its threat to close the paper in an email to Reilly:
During the course of negotiations, the company has repeatedly engaged in punitive, bad-faith bargaining and basically committed an act of corporate terrorism with its threat to close the paper. They have traumatized their own employees, their employees' families, and the wider community that cares about and depends on this newspaper.

I think we've put to bed the notion that they can afford to make good on that threat, because the Times Company's own finances are so fragile, the cost of closing us would wreck the parent company. But the damage is done.

The deal was made on May 6 and calls for a 10 percent wage cut. It gives the company more flexibility with layoffs. The dollar figure behind the cuts are $10 million. The rank-and-file vote is Monday.

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