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Times Demands Cost-Cutting Measures For Globe Union

The New York Times Co. wants the Boston Newspaper Guild union to come up with half of the cost savings it has demanded from the paper. It provided a list of possible cuts and changes to contracts for the union to consider. Union members call the suggestions drastic.

The Boston Globe presented the Newspaper Guild with a list of more than a dozen ways to cut $10 million dollars out of the annual budget. The list ranges from salary cuts to eliminating the guild if the paper is sold. That’s an indication to many that the Times is trying to sell the Globe.

The demands include eliminating all lifetime job guarantees made to around 200 current employees. The list also includes freezing pensions and all 401K contributions as well as eliminating seniority in terms of job security. It also suggests not paying for sick days, eliminating all paid holidays and adding two and a half hours to the work week.

Reporter Beth Daley was among the 300 union members who attended the meeting. Speaking on her cell phone, she said the demands upset many people.

“One thing became clear at the meeting: that people are wiling to take sacrifices but they want to be partners in sharing with pain of the Globe cuts with management, and its hopeful survival,” Daley said.

The Times has given the 13 Globe unions 30 days to make a total of $20 million in cuts or it’s threatened to close the paper. But union members fear it’s an impossible time frame because union rules require at least 30 days notice before voting on any major changes. There’s fear among some members that the demands laid out by the Times will force an impasse and allow it to go around the union.

Wednesday night’s meeting was a presentation of demands. Union negotiations with management will being next Tuesday. The New York Times did not return calls for comment.

This program aired on April 9, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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