Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix reports that the Boston Globe's largest labor union may vote down the supposedly last-ditch offer from the New York Times Company aimed at cutting costs enough to allow the paper to survive. The New England paper is losing buckets of money, and the Times has no extra money to underwrite losses, having borrowed a quarter billion dollars on very harsh terms from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.
During a Guild membership meeting this past week, for example, reporter Brian Mooney - who's been an especially vocal critic of the Times Co.'s handling of the Globe, and who, like a third of the Guild's members, has (for now) a lifetime guarantee - got an enthusiastic response when he reportedly announced that, if the Times Company was going to cut his throat, he wasn't going to hand them the knife. And over the weekend, a Guild member e-mailed me with a prediction: if a vote were taken tomorrow, the Times Co. proposal would definitely be rejected. ...
"The imposed offer provides an opportunity to sustain the Globe, at least in intermediate terms," Bailey writes via e-mail. "But I would vote yes with a heavy heart and not a little anger. If the Times Co. is truly interested in making this work, why did they not match union pay cuts with managers' cuts? Why do managers keep pension additions and unions' are frozen? Why did no one from New York deign to address Globe employees - managers and union members - directly and in person to explain their position?"
As of this writing, the Times Co.'s contract proposals await ratification by six of the Globe's seven major unions. And as the paper's most-populous union, the Guild's decisions will have outsize importance.
In all likelihood, the union will vote against suicide and accept the cuts., but resentment against the Times will continue to simmer. There is something richly ironic about Globe staffers resenting the arrogance of the Times. For many decades the Globe has sneered at its rivals, especially the only surviving one the past few decades, the Boston Herald, a lively tabloid that does not take the leftist line the Globe peddles with decreasing effectiveness.