|June 11, 2009|
|Does Pinch Sulzberger Want to be Remembered for Killing the Boston Globe?|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Does New York Times Co. chairman Pinch Sulzberger want to be remembered as the guy who killed the Boston Globe, one of the country’s best papers? |
Can't believe so. That would be a terrible stain on the legacy of the Sulzbergers, journalism’s first family.
Reports from Boston blame both NYTC management and unions for the labor stand-off. In a sign of brinkmanship, the Boston Newspaper Guild rejected pay cuts of 10 percent plus hefty reductions in benefits and the elimination of job guarantees. Members apparently believe management is bluffing with the threat of big imposed cuts.
The Times management, for its part, is rapped for its imperious ways. It has declared an impasse in negotiations and now plans to impose a 23 percent pay cut for Globe reporters. Note to Pinch: nobody told the Guild an impasse was reached. It takes two sides to negotiate and two sides to declare an impasse.
It’s time for Pinch to spend some quality time in Boston. He could take NYTC CEO Janet Robinson along for the ride. The Guild rejected the Times’ “final offer” by only a dozen votes (277 to 265). Sulzberger should throw himself into the negotiations to personally make the case for the need for cutbacks.
Reporters are reasonable people. Guild members are acutely aware of the lousy state of the newspaper industry and the need for restructure. They are bound to agree to another offer from the Times, one with less draconian demands than the loss of a quarter of a salary, as long as a newspaper future still exists.
Greg Thornton, chief negotiator for the Globe, has extended somewhat on an olive branch to Guild members. He offered to meet with Guild president Dan Totten any day this week before the cuts go into effect next week. Pinch should beat Thornton to the punch. He should meet with Guild leaders to outline the Globe’s print/digital/mobile future under NYTC ownership.
As Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations, told the Globe: “If the United Auto Workers can settle with General Motors on the brink of bankruptcy, why can’t the Times Co. settle with its reporters.”
That’s a good question for Pinch.
(Image via Gawker)
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