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The Boston Globe is reportedly for sale, and there are at least two potential buyers. The newspaper reported Wednesday morning that its corporate parent The New York Times Co. has asked the investment bank Goldman Sachs to solicit bids for the paper.
The potential sale comes against the backdrop of labor strife at the paper.
The Globe's largest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, is fighting a 23-percent wage cut that the Times moved to implement after the Guild narrowly voted down $10 million in contract concessions Monday.
After reporters, editors, ad sales people and business administrators spent the day putting together Wednesday’s Boston Globe, they met at a union hall in Dorchester to hear their leadership’s plan for how to respond to the impending wage cut.
"The Boston Newspaper Guild will take all necessary steps to pursue and reach a fair and livable agreement with the Times Co.," said Guild President Dan Totten. "We will also oppose the company’s drastic and extreme move to implement a 23-percent wage cut through any legal means necessary."
What is not being discussed is a strike. Newspaper strikes in the past have failed to accelerate a deal and employees feel they would lose readers and jeopardize the paper’s future. The union also asked the company to agree to independent and impartial third-party mediation, something the Times has rejected in the past.
The Guild said its meeting with the Times on Monday should begin work on a realistic and fair agreement on wages, benefits and work rules. This is the day after the wage cut goes into effect. But Times spokesman Bob Powers says the meeting is to talk about implementing the wage cut as should not to been seen as re-opening negotiations.
"Earlier today we sent a letter to the Guild stating that in our view the parties have bargained over and are at impasse concerning the Globe's alternative wage proposal. Therefore, the Globe will not rescind its 'declaration of impasse' or withdraw its notice of implementation," Powers said.
A group of Globe reporters also wrote a letter to the chairman of The New York Times, Arthur Sulzburger, Jr., asking him to find a middle ground that is more equitable — such as cutting their pay the same amount that management has cut its pay.
Many union members, including reporter Michael Paulson, held out hope that the two sides will find “a speedy and unexpected solution.”
"The two sides are not particularly far apart financially, but we’re not hearing from the company about resolving this amicably at this point," Paulson said.
Meanwhile, about 670 Guild employees are preparing themselves for losing nearly a quarter of their pay next week.
Dorothy Clark, a copy editor, says people are scared.
"Shame on [The New York Times management] for making sport of bullying and intimidating people. That’s just unconscionable," Clark said.
Many union members believe the Times does not need to save as much money from the Globe as it says it does. Last week a spokeswoman for the Times was quoted on a respected journalism Web site saying the $85 million it expects to lose this year on the Globe includes amortization, depreciation and one-time payouts, not ongoing losses.
The New York Times took away the closure threat Tuesday, saying now that they had achieved the necessary $20 million in savings, they did not foresee closing the paper.
This program aired on June 10, 2009.
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