Boston Globe, union discuss concessions

The Boston Globe and a key union held marathon talks over employee concessions on Monday and will reconvene on Tuesday, raising the possibility of a new outcome to a bitter labor dispute at the 137-year-old daily newspaper.

The Globe and the Boston Newspaper Guild met on Monday to discuss what the paper's management said were ways to implement a 23 percent pay cut in union members' salaries aimed at cutting $10 million in costs at the paper.

The union said the meeting would give it a chance to offer a new concession package.

"Talks are continuing," guild President Dan Totten said in a statement. "They will resume again on Tuesday."

The Globe's owner, The New York Times Co, ordered the cuts after union members earlier this month rejected a package of concessions including an 8.4 percent pay cut, furloughs and curtailed retirement benefits.

The union said that many of its members resented the deep cuts that its employees were making while Times Co management and some Times employees did not have to sacrifice as much.

Globe officials had said that talks were at an impasse and it was going ahead with the 23 percent cuts. Both sides have stuck to their positions in public, but it is unclear whether they are now trying to move closer to a new resolution.

A Globe spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The meeting, in Weymouth, Massachusetts, southeast of Boston, became another in a series of marathon discussions that the two sides have held in recent months. They began at 11 and ended more than 12 hours later.

On Tuesday, the Globe and the union are supposed to meet before the National Labor Relations Board for the first time. The union filed a complaint over the pay cuts with the NLRB, a government body that investigates unfair labor practices.

It is unknown whether the hearing will continue if the two sides are talking again about a new concession package.

The Times had sought $20 million in cost cuts at the money-losing Globe, including $10 million from the Boston Newspaper Guild. It has said the Globe will record an $85 million operating loss this year.

It has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to field possible buyers for the paper.

[Source: Reuters, NY and Weymouth, 16Jun09]

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