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The New York Times Company is threatening to shut down the Boston Globe if the paper can't significantly cut costs.
Sources tell WBUR the Times is demanding $20 million in concessions in the next 30 days. Sources say the threat came in a meeting this week between representatives of Globe unions and managers of the New York Times Company.
The Times paid more than $1 billion for the Globe in 1993. Now the Globe is believed to be losing $1 million a week.
Sources say to save the paper, the Times is asking for concessions that would produce millions of dollars in annual savings. That's on top of savings from the buyouts and layoffs of 50 employees in recent days. The Globe has had several other buyouts in recent years and now has about 330 newsroom employees.
Globe management had no comment.
After word of the threatened closure spread among newsroom staff Boston Newspaper Guild President Dan Totten issued a statement, obtained by WBUR Friday, to guild members:
Dear Guild membership,
I feel it necessary to let you know of a meeting the Globe's 13 unions had with the NYTimes and Boston Globe management Thursday. First, this was a confidential meeting - and this union is nothing without its word. So I intend to keep the details of the meeting private as promised by that agreement. Unfortunately, other people have not and rumors are circulating.
Here is what I can tell you. The Globe and NYTimes management painted a not-unexpected dire picture of the Boston Globe's financial situation. They are looking for financial concessions from all unions.
Again, this is not unexpected given the recent 5 percent pay cut for managers across the company (that 5% management/exempt pay cut comes with an additional 10 paid personal days for management/exempt - making any giveback a virtual wash).
We are now beginning to enter in discussions with management about what they are looking for from us and examining savings opportunities for them. The BNG just lost a significant number of people over the last 3 weeks across both news and business areas and those cuts need to be factored into any future discussions between Guild - Globe.
As negotiations go forward, we will keep you posted. My office door is
always open, although as you can understand, there tends to be long lines outside these days.
This program aired on April 3, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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