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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, June 08, 2009

It's going down

I'm not a gambler and my record on political prognostication is, to be generous, rotten.

But I think the Boston Newspaper Guild is going to scuttle the contract offer from management when they vote today. And the can of worms they open will be messy.

The rumblings coming out of Morrissey Boulevard in the past few weeks have been ominous. The complaints put forward by Brian Mooney, while a bit intemperate, resonate -- and they are simple: Guild member are disproportionately taking it on the chin in relationship to managers.
"The people who work with us, who supervise us, why can't they take the same hit as the rest of us?
Combine that with the the intention of Guild boss Dan Totten and the negotiating team's sole editorial member, Beth Daley, to vote no, and the die has been cast.

The final factor is the proclamation -- at least today -- that New York Times Co. has no plan to follow through on its threat the close the newspaper. Not that it doesn't have a powerful weapon up its sleeve.
“If the proposal is voted down, the Globe will have no alternative other than to take all steps necessary to implement a 23 percent wage cut for all Guild members,” [spokesman Bob] Powers said.
Losing almost a quarter of your salary, permanently is a pretty powerful tool, one that clearly has some reporters rightfully questioning how they can meet their obligations from rent or mortgage to putting kids through college.
"I think the company is out of time in terms of needing to get these savings," [reporter Erin] Ailworth said. "I can't afford to gamble."
The uncertainty is heightened by the rift in the Guild itself. Totten comes out of the advertising side and from day one made the lifetime job guarantees the one non-negotiable issue. The newsroom members took issue with that, something that only exacerbated the natural rifts between the two parts of the newspaper's white collar employees.

Newsroom members hope to force the Times company to reopen negotiations. The company, which has behave more like a union-busting machine that the fount of liberal political thought it like to portray itself as, responds it will simple declare an impasse and impose a 23 percent cut.

There's little doubt that the 8th Avenue Overlords have taken a hit in this crisis -- from its hardball stance against the guild to its failure to adequately cover the story.

But ultimately Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds the cards and has issues of his own to contend with.

The next round in this saga will be even uglier that the current one. And we're not even talking about what the newspaper will look like when it emerges from this battle.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth Daley is not on the Guild's negotiating team and was not allowed to observe, let alone participate, in the union negotiations.

June 08, 2009 6:09 AM  
Blogger Readwriteblue said...

The Globe going down? It can't happen fast enough for my liking. Not since Pravda and the USSR has a newpaper been so in the tank for the local party bosses. The good news is we have found a use for the mayor's new toilets.

June 08, 2009 11:01 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

The impression I had was Beth had been added to the team for the negotiations. If I was wrong, thanks for the correction.

June 09, 2009 5:45 AM  

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