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Globe's Largest Union Narrowly Defeats Deal

This article is more than 10 years old.

The largest union at the Boston Globe narrowly defeated a package of wage and benefit concessions, intended to keep the newspaper in business by cutting $10 million in expenses.

Members of the Boston Newspaper Guild voted 277 to 265 Monday against the concession package.

"With today's vote, members of the Boston Newspaper Guild have said that the New York Times Co. must do better than the offer that was presented, " said Guild President Dan Totten in a statement. "The Boston Newspaper Guild is committed to resuming good-faith negotiations with the New York Times Co. and Globe management to reach an agreement."

The Times Co., the Globe's parent company, showed no immediate willingness to resume negotiations.

Globe spokesman Bob Powers told WBUR that the newspaper is moving forward with its threat to impose a deep pay cut on employees. "Because of the vote to reject the proposal," Powers said, "we've reverted back to our alternative final proposal, which is a 23-percent wage reduction. That will be implemented effective next week." Management is offering to meet with union leaders to discuss implementing the pay cut.

"Imposing a 23-percent pay cut is going to have a really negative and obvious impact on the product," said reporter Marcella Bombardieri, who voted against the deal. "I mean people are going to be devastated. They're going to be very distracted and upset, and some of them will have to quit so they can go pay their bills. And that's not going to be good for the newspaper."

The proposed new contract included an 8.3 percent wage cut, five-day unpaid furloughs and cuts in health and pension benefits. It also would have eliminated lifetime job guarantees for 190 Guild workers.

"The vote was an obviously very intensely personal vote," said Globe advertising-sales representative Andrew Donovan. "People had to do a lot of soul searching in terms of how they voted on the contract. And I think that's evident in how it turned out, in terms of it being so close." Donovan would not reveal how he voted.

Six other unions at the Globe have approved concessions.

This program aired on June 8, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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