The New York Times Co. is playing hardball with its sister paper the Boston Globe, threatening to shut it down unless it gets more cuts from the Globe's unions. Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz wrote on Monday:
The New York Times Co. said last night that it is notifying federal authorities of its plans to shut down the Boston Globe, raising the possibility that New England's most storied newspaper could cease to exist within weeks.
After down-to-the-wire negotiations did not produce millions of dollars in union concessions, the Times Co. said that it will file today a required 60-day notice of the planned shutdown under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law.
The move could amount to a negotiating ploy to extract further concessions from the Globe's unions, since the notice does not require the Times Co. to close the paper after 60 days. The deadline, however, would put the unions under fierce pressure to produce additional savings, and the Boston Newspaper Guild promptly called the step a "bullying" tactic by the company.
Later in the day, the Globe's unions blinked; the Times Co. reached agreement with six of the seven unions. Media reporter Richard Perez-Pena's Tuesday article for the Times was headlined "Times Co. Postpones Threat to Close Boston Globe."
After wringing concessions from all but one of TheBoston Globe's labor unions, TheNew York Times Companyon Monday postponed its threat to start the process of closing The Globe, leaving the newspaper's immediate future resting on talks with the largest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild.
Negotiations with the guild broke off about 6 a.m. Monday, after more than 19 hours. By then, the company had reached tentative agreements on wage, benefit and job security concessions with the unions representing mailers, drivers, press operators, machinists, electricians and others.
No further talks were scheduled as yet with the guild, which represents more than 600 Globe employees in the newsroom, advertising and some business offices.
Carrie Sheffield blogged at The Washington Times on the hypocrisy of the NYT Co. putting the squeeze on labor unions, given the paper's abstract editorial support for unions against management when it comes to other businesses:
The New York Times' editorial board maintains a solidly pro-union position, but when it comes down to business, the newspaper company admits that position doesn't necessarily stick, as shown by the recent round of talks with the Boston Globe's seven unions.
"There is little doubt that American workers need unions," the New York Times editorial board wrote in a February 2008 editorial."A bill that would have made it easier for unions to organizeworkers died in the Senate last June. Congress should take up this issue again to stop companies from using threats and other aggressive tactics to keep organized labor out, and to help win workers their rightful share of the economic pie."