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Boston Globe contract concession talks nearing deadline

The paper's owner, the New York Times Co., wants union leaders to make $20 million in concessions by midnight Sunday. It has said it would close the Globe unless concessions are made.

May 04, 2009|Associated Press

BOSTON — The management of the Boston Globe threatened late Sunday to begin the process of shutting down the newspaper in a dispute with its unions over $20 million in cuts.

The Globe's owner, New York Times Co., gave its biggest union a copy of a notice it was prepared to file Monday if it was unable to agree on concessions by midnight Sunday. A 60-day shutdown notice is required under federal law.

The deadline passed without word from either side.

The Boston Newspaper Guild, representing more than 700 employees, called the move a "bullying" tactic.

Earlier Sunday, the guild said it had proposed more than the $10 million in cuts to keep the newspaper running.

The Times Co. last month threatened to close the 137-year-old Globe unless its unions agreed to $20 million in cuts, including half from the Newspaper Guild.

In a statement released two hours before a midnight deadline Sunday, the guild said its proposal called for "tremendous sacrifices, across virtually all categories of compensation and benefits."

It was unclear whether the Globe's other unions had made proposals for the remaining $10 million in cuts.

The Times Co. would not comment on the guild's proposal.

The guild did not release specifics on what kinds of wage or benefit cuts it had proposed. The union said further details would be made public once all guild members had had a chance to review them.

Like many other newspapers, the Globe has been struggling amid declining advertising revenues and dropping circulation as readers migrate to the Internet. The Globe had a $50-million operating loss in 2008 and is projected to lose $85 million this year.

The Times Co., which bought the Globe in 1993, has said that of all its newspaper properties, the Globe has been the most dramatically affected by the recession and the advertising downturn.

Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said at the company's annual shareholders meeting last month that more needed to be done to align the Globe's costs and revenues.

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