Only in Massachusetts…
Another sinking ship of the vast New York Times enterprise, the Boston Globe, is having problems staying afloat these days. The Globe needs to cut $20 million annually to continue to operate. Hence, the newspaper made a proposal to their largest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, for pay and benefits cuts, with a caveat of far worse if the proposal was voted down.
Monday evening, the Guild narrowly voted down the Globe’s proposal which would cut workers’ pay by 8.3%, eliminate 190 jobs, and cut back on some health and pension benefits. Mangement clearly stated during the process that if this cut did not go through, workers would have to take a 23% pay cut. No matter. Guild votes “No thanks.”
You can guess what happened next. The Guild voted down the smaller pay cut and cutbacks. Management, as it had said it would, imposed the 23% cut (effective this Sunday). Guild screams bloody murder; guild starts legal action to delay pay cuts; guild goes to Labor Relations Board to block cuts; guild, in fact, does everything in its power to ensure the closing of the 137-year-old newspaper and lose all jobs. Go, guild!
All this, despite the fact that the six other unions involved in Globe operations had actually voted for the 8.3% pay cut. Clearly these other unions realized that a pay cut of 8.3% is much better than a pay cut of 23%, and that having a job is better than not having a job.
So Boston will likely become yet another one-paper big city; the Herald will be laughing all the way to the bank; and the hundreds of unemployed business, advertising, and editorial workers will be scratching their heads wondering what happened. (No, not the elites, like Ellen Goodman, Joan Vennochi, Derrick Jackson, and the uber-creepy Dan Shaughnessy. They’ll have something to fall back on or something to leap to. They’ll always land on their feet.)
And “Coupe” Deval Patrick will have to add 700 newly laid-off people to the state’s unemployment rolls.
Well played, Boston Newspaper Guild. Well played, indeed.