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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Globe's here?

Issuing an ultimatum based on faulty accounting. Priceless.

The Legend of Young Arthur continues to grow with the disclosure that the The York Times ultimatum to Boston Globe unions -- give us $20 million in cuts or we're taking our toys and going home -- was based on sloppy accounting.

The bean counters down on 8th Avenue apparently neglected to take into account about $4.5 million in savings already achieved as a result employees already bought out, laid off or resigned.

That number takes on greater significance when it's put in the context of management's "offer" that the Newspaper Guild can choose from a "menu" of options totaling $14 million in reaching a decision on how to give back its share $10 million share of the pie.

What would the Newspaper of Record say if it came upon a story like that involving Chrysler or General Motors? A lengthy expose looking at sloppy accounting as part of a host of bad management practices.

What has the Times actually said about the gaffe in its own corporate suites? Pretty much what it has said over the last month. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Today is D-Day for the unions to accede to demands. Both the Globe and the Herald note the Times has failed to comply, yet, with federal law requiring 60 days notice before shutting down a business.

Globe publisher Steve Ainsley put out a last-minute memo trying to rally confidence. But employees have a right to question the premise of everything that has taken place in the last month of gun-to-the-head negotiations when management commits such a stupid mistake.

Here's hoping something lands on my doorstep tomorrow morning. If nothing else, I've already paid for it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not quite right - it's not that they failed to take into account $4.5 million already achived by layoffs and buyouts. It's that when they were caluculating potential savings from salary cuts, etc., they were assuming they still had 80 employees who have left already. What's suspicious is not only the timing -- they figure this out two days before the drop-dead date? -- but that you wonder if they took into account the savings they're getting from not having to pay the salaries and benefits of those 80 people. It's all quite fishy.

May 01, 2009 4:57 PM  
Blogger Fever said...

The Boston Globe lost $50 million last year, will lose $85 million this year and is expected to lose $100 million in 2010. The Newspaper Guild should be thanking the New York Times for being so generous rather than bitch about $4.5 million. My support is with the Times, it’s time these unions learned that money doesn’t grow on trees. Then again, maybe Obama will just print some more.

May 01, 2009 5:11 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thnaks anon, the whole thing really is rather confusing. The only thing that is clear is that the accounting gaffe was major league.

May 01, 2009 6:52 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I love this. When all this stuff first came down, I said the NYT needed to open up all the books to prove their case to the unions.

People were baffled -- but, Ryan, it's a public company! All the books already are open!

Yeah, right.

Low and behold, not only were the books not open, but the NYT made a stupid-ass, huge-ass mistake that would get *anyone* fired if they didn't work for the Times.

The Union shouldn't do shit at this point until the NYT gives the unions every single bit of information that they have.

May 01, 2009 8:21 PM  

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