May 4, 2009

1 Globe union agrees; others balk

One of the 13 unions at The Boston Globe has agreed to $2.2 million in concessions in the face of a threat to close the 137-year-old newspaper, the Globe said.

The Boston Newspaper Printing Pressmen Union agreed to a concessions plan and would put it to their 200 members within a week, the newspaper said.

Despite progress with that union, negotiations broke off Sunday night with the Globe's largest union, The Boston Newspaper Guild, after the company rejected the Guild's latest offer.

The New York Times, which owns the Globe, threatened to close the newspaper if unions did not agree to cut $20 million in operating costs and give up job-for-life guarantees, the Boston Herald reported Monday.

Negotiations continued with Teamsters Local 1, which represents mailroom workers, the Herald said.

Negotiations became tense when about an hour before midnight Sunday, company negotiators threatened to file a 60-day warning that the Globe would close.

Boston Newspaper Guild President Dan Totten said his union had met demands to cut some $10 million in costs several different ways on several different occasions.

The threat to close the company was completely unacceptable, he said.

Filing the (warning) notice is a difficult step that we would like to avoid but, unfortunately, given the state of the negotiations, it is one we must be prepared to take if negotiations are not successful, Globe spokesman Robert Powers said.