2 Key 'Boston Globe' Unions Agree To Cuts

The Boston Globe front page/May 27, 2009The New York Times Company came a step closer to extracting the concessions it says it needs to keep The Boston Globe in business this week, with two key unions agreeing to cutbacks totaling $7.2 million. The news follows an earlier round of white-knuckle negotiations in which NYTCO executives seemed poised to make good on their threat to close the newspaper down if they didn't get the demanded concessions.

In the latest round, the unions representing The Boston Globe's printers and mailers -- the Boston Printing Pressman's Union, Teamsters Local 3 and the Boston Mailers Union, Teamsters Local 1 -- voted in favor of concessions worth $2.2 million and $5 million, respectively. This goes a long way toward the $20 million of concessions demanded by NYTCO management.

The process has not been without controversy, as employees reacted bitterly to the original demands and hinted at determined resistance.

The margin of approval in the latest round of votes appears to be small, with the mailers' union only voting to approve the cuts by 107-95. (The printers' union didn't release the vote count, suggesting it was also close.)

In early May, seven unions representing various Boston Globe workers agreed to wide-ranging concessions in terms of employment, but only after negotiations with the largest union -- the Newspaper Guild -- dragged on past 3 a.m. In the final days of the dispute, NYTCO executives showed union leaders official paperwork they were prepared to file that announced the closing of the newspaper, which the unions criticized as a bullying tactic.

Ominously, NYTCO management also said further layoffs are virtually inevitable, despite the concessions. The Boston Globe is on course to lose $85 million this year, even after these hard-won cuts.

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