NY Times Co. threatens Boston Globe shutdown

Monday, May 4, 2009 | 12:19 a.m. CDT; updated 3:24 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 4, 2009

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, The New York Times Co., said it had given the Globe's biggest union a copy of a notice it was prepared to file Monday if it was unable to agree on the concessions by midnight Sunday, a deadline that passed without word from the union or the Times Co. The 60-day shutdown notice is required under federal law.

The newspaper's largest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, called the move a "bullying" tactic by the Times Co., which last month threatened to close the Globe unless its unions agreed to $20 million in cuts, including half from the Newspaper Guild.

The Guild said late Sunday it had proposed more than the $10 million in cuts sought by the Times Co. to keep the newspaper running. In a statement released two hours before the midnight deadline Sunday, the Guild said its proposal called for "tremendous sacrifices, across virtually all categories of compensation and benefits."

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

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.

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 $50 million in operating losses 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.

New York 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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