In 2nd vote, Boston Globe union accepts wage cuts

ByABC News
July 21, 2009, 8:38 AM

BOSTON -- After rejecting an earlier offer, The Boston Globe's largest union voted overwhelmingly Monday to approve a new contract that would give the financially struggling newspaper $10 million in concessions.

The Globe, on its website, reported that the Boston Newspaper Guild voted 366-179 to accept the deal that was hammered out after the union narrowly voted down a similar package last month.

The Guild represents about 700 editorial, advertising and business employees at the Globe. The newspaper's parent, The New York Times Co., imposed a 23% wage cut after the union rejected a contract that called for an 8.3% wage cut, unpaid furloughs, benefit cuts and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees for nearly 200 staffers.

The new contract cuts salaries by nearly 6%. It also includes unpaid furloughs, a pension freeze, a reduction in health care benefits and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees.

The Globe is projected to lose $85 million this year.

"We are very pleased that the members of the Boston Newspaper Guild ratified their agreement. With this vote, all of the Globe's major union contracts are now settled," Globe spokesman Bob Powers said in a statement.

"We deeply appreciate the sacrifices that Guild members are making to help sustain the Boston Globe's mission of delivering high-quality journalism to the greater Boston community," he added.

The Times Co. said it needed $10 million in wage and benefit concessions from the Guild on top of $10 million in concessions it negotiated with six other unions.

The Guild filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board after management imposed the 23% wage cut, but a hearing before the NRLB has been postponed while talks continue.

Workers who struggled to pay for daycare, mortgages and other expenses amid the deep wage cuts resigned themselves to making painful concessions after the original contract was slightly modified, said Beth Daley, a reporter who cast a ballot against the new contract in the first vote, but changed her mind Monday.