Union workers approve Boston Globe contract


The New York Times Company now has contracts with all of the unions at the Boston Globe, with members of the largest union approving a new package of $10 million in wage and benefit cuts. That rescinds bigger pay cuts that had been imposed by the company after the workers rejected an earlier proposed pact.

Members of the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents nearly 700 editorial, advertising and business office workers at the Globe, voted 366 to 179 to approve the contract struck last month. The new package achieves the $10 million in cost reductions demanded by management, but mostly through deep cuts in health and retirement benefits, with wages cut only about 9%. The company will end the 23% pay cut it had unilaterally imposed and the union will withdraw its unfair labor complaint at the National Labor Relations Board.

Now that it has peace with the Boston Globe unions, the New York Times Company will be better able to market the New England Media Group, including the Boston Globe, Worcester Telegram & Gazette and some affiliated smaller publications, to potential buyers. A story in the Globe had previously identified at least three interested parties.

RBR/TVBR observation: Tough times. Now we wait to see whether the NY Times Company is able to find a buyer who will let it rid itself of the Boston Globe and some substantial pension liabilities.

Given that the Globe is still using red ink by the buckets full even after reducing annual costs by tens of million of dollars, it is pretty hard to put a value on the operation. And if, as has been reported, the NY Times Company expects the buyer to take nearly $60 million in pension liabilities along with the Globe, it is hard to see how anyone could offer more than a single dollar and ever expect to come out ahead.