Skip to comments.Globe union hits airwaves (NYT/Union Thug fight - Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 08/24/2006 4:58:43 AM PDT by abb
A union representing Boston Globe workers is taking its fight with the paper and its New York parent to the local airwaves with a fiery radio advertisement today that calls the New York Times Co. greedy.
In the ad, the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents more than 1,200 unionized Globe employees, attacks the Times Co. as an outsider thats pushing an unfair labor contract.
A lot of (Boston-based) companies know to treat workers with dignity and respect. Thats why its disappointing that. . . The Boston Globe and its corporate parent, The New York Times, are pushing an unfair contract with employees, the ad says. Here in Boston we dont stand for greedy New York companies, or the Yankees.
The ad is slated to run on select radio stations starting today.
The unions beef with the Times Co. is twofold, said BNG President Dan Totten.
The company wants to freeze its health-insurance contributions at current levels for union employees for the next four years, Totten said, adding that the rising costs of premiums would saddle Globe employees with a huge burden.
The Times and Globe often talk about giving employees good benefits, Totten said, but when it comes to their own folks the fair treatment is seriously lacking.
The Boston Newspaper Guild says its also taking issue with the Times outsourcing of rank-and-file jobs while, according to the union, the Globe adds highly paid management positions. The Globe has already lost 151 union employees through buyouts and outsourcing, Totten said. As it stands now we have members doing two or three jobs routinely.
Totten said the union decided to air its grievances over the radio because its a serious public issue. We believe that the local business and political community, as well as the public at large, need to know.
But Globe management expressed disappointment that the union had decided to take the negotiations public.
The Newspaper Guild is attempting to bring public pressure to bear on what have been private, and ongoing, labor negotiations. As always, we prefer to confine our comments to the bargaining table and will continue to do so, said Globe spokesman Al Larkin, in a statement. Managers are scheduled to meet with the union next week, Larkin said.
Can't We All Just Get Along?
The current union-management battles at several newspapers around the country could inflict severe damage to the biz if they linger and spread. At a time when the newspaper industry in general needs to unite in its current fight for survival, the last thing we need is severe infighting among our own troops and leadership.
By Joe Strupp
(August 23, 2006) -- Can't we all just get along? That memorable plea that Rodney King uttered famously as most of Los Angeles was being destroyed around him more than a decade ago would do very well in today's newspaper labor situation. While the current union-management battles at several shops don't compare to the destructive riots that devastated L.A., they have the power of inflicting severe damage to the biz if they linger and spread.
Specifically, the scary events that have sparked my worry are in Toledo, Ohio; York, Pa.; and Santa Barbara, Calif. Newspapers in those three cities, which have little else in common, are reaching new heights in employee-management tit-for-tat.
At a time when the newspaper industry in general needs to unite in its current fight for survival, the last thing we need is severe infighting among our own troops and leadership.
The nearly two-month saga of the News-Press has been well-documented, starting with the resignation of a handful of editors in early July, including Editor Jerry Roberts, after alleging that owner Wendy McCaw was meddling in newsroom decisions. So far, up to 14 News-Press staffers have bolted, while the rank-and-file has engaged in a National Labor Relations Board tug-of-war with management.
News-Press managers raised the stakes this week with an unfair labor practices charge against the union, coming shortly after the newsroom, seeking representation by a Teamsters unit, complained first. Add to that a subscriber boycott effort and it is a wonder that any news is getting covered in Santa Barbara, or read about. Readers there must be wishing for the calm days of the Michael Jackson trial.
Head west to Toledo and The Blade has engaged in its second union lockout in three days, telling paper handlers to go home, or join the locked out engravers at the union hall. Six other unions remain on the job, but only one has a contract. Management says they want to cut a new deal so they can put salary reductions and new health benefit fees in place. Union leaders have countered with a request for subscriber and advertiser boycotts.
A Blade editor even hinted that the paper's 350 guild members could be locked out next. So who is going to cover the news? The janitors? Or are they locked out as well?
Speaking of lockouts, in York, The York Daily Record and Sunday News is nearing a month of a byline lockout of sorts. Guild members there spent a week withholding bylines in late July to protest the lack of a new contract. When they agreed to put their names back on their stories, editors said, "No! no!" Guild writers have yet to see their names on stories, or a new contract, since. Some of it reminds me of my two-year-old and five-year-old fighting over the last Sponge Bob popsicle.
In each of these cases, the failure to get a new contract is the key sticking point. What else is new? Unions and newspaper management have been engaging in such tactics at the bargaining table since Ben Franklin's news carriers sought horse feed mileage reimbursement increases.
But today, the stakes appear a bit higher as the industry remains in a battle for survival. Every negative move, by workers or owners, that hurts the product or diminishes its image means potential lost audience that might not come back.
In the past, when strikes and bitter labor battles hit The Washington Post, Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, and even the San Francisco papers, audiences could often be counted to come back, at least for the most part. But today, the daily miracle is holding on for dear life. Give a reader a reason to stop picking up the paper, or logging onto the Web site, and they will go to hundreds of other outlets, most for free.
And as the York, Santa Barbara, and Toledo newsrooms engage in such internal disputes, the tactics appear to be getting more heated and more extreme. Without being inside each newspaper, it is difficult to know which side is being truly unfair or over-the-top.
Is Santa Barbara owner McCaw truly overstepping the wall between business and editorial? Are union leaders in Toledo failing to see the true economic hardships of the paper when they reject a salary reduction proposal that at least one other union there has accepted?
And what about York? This rare, small two-newspaper town has seen a number of strange happenings in its history, the last being the swap of ownership between the Daily Record and the rival York Dispatch a few years ago. A swap some guild leaders contend never really happened, prompting a claim that Daily Record owner MediaNews Group actually runs both.
Whichever sides are in the right, or whether both have valid arguments, or none, the nit-picking tactics and accusations are not helping anyone. The newspaper industry least of all. And if other owners and workers see these disputes and chose to imitate them in their own labor negotiations, the losers will not just be those at each newsroom, but the newspaper industry in general, which will wonder what happened to its audience while owners and workers were fighting among themselves.
Joe Strupp (email@example.com) is a senior editor at E&P.
This one here ought to be fun to watch!
As opposed to saddling the Globe, with it's falling profits, with the burden of paying for them ... hhmmmmm ...
Does he mean the Boston Globe an NYT are lying Hippocrates? Gasp! I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you!
You can listien to the Ad here:
for once, I am for the greedy union thugs. I hope you bringdown your employers.
I'll take a union member over an idiot any day.
The elite mediot maggot owners of ABCNNBCBS and publishers of the major dinosaur fishwraps are the modern day, Norman Bates. They are trying to keep the corpses alive by refusing to admit that they are dead and to bury them.
Buy my Dinosaur Fishwrap stock, NYT. The old gray lady is just fine!
So , the unions and the NY Slimes do not love each other anymore ?
Hopefully there will be a long strike and everyone loses tons of more money.
Then the last few stupid, lazy, advertisers will also leave.
Rank-and-file ought to walk out to pressure highly paid management into treating workers fairly.
"Union thug/NY Times Co. Catfight...
Rank-and-file ought to walk out to pressure highly paid management into treating workers fairly."
Right on. Power to the union workers. Do they have executive hot tubs and second homes in Martha's Vineyard like the elite owners of the NY Slimes.
'Hopefully there will be a long strike and everyone loses tons of more money. Then the last few stupid, lazy, advertisers will also leave.'
Ah yes, the best of all. A long and vicious strike between the union thugs and the elite mediots of the NY Slimes. That would lead to more subscription and ad cancellations.
Management really ought to ask itself, "Why doesn't rank-and-file love management?"
Um, isn't Toledo EAST of Santa Barbara?
Pinch & Co hypocrites?
Blueblood liberal publisher acting like a greedy capitalist?
My beeber is stuned! Absolutely stuned!
This outta be good; note to self: Set in a supply of Butter Lover's popcorn.
NYT: Do as we say, not as we do
The New York Times talks a good game about treating workers well. Wal-Mart does not get good press in the Times and elsewhere for its alleged sins of low wages and benefits. Still, thousands showed up in Oakland and Chicago recently to apply for jobs at new Wal-Maret stores.
But when it comes to its own employees, and rhetoric is replaced by action, the game plan shifts radically. Bill Sanderson of the New York Post reports:
Fed-up employees at The Boston Globe say their bosses at the New York Times Co. are even less welcome in Beantown than the Yankees.
Thats because managers at the Times Co., which owns the Globe, are coming across in contract talks as pay and health insurance cheapskates, the Boston papers main union charges in radio spots to start running today.
Management wants to shift even more health care costs to workers, say the ads explaining that the company would do so by freezing its own contributions to the health plan.
On top of that, the union says the Times is proposing no pay increase for the next four years.
Of course, Pinch Sulzberger, the genius who doubled-down the companys bet on the failing newspaper industry with the acquisition of Affiliated Publications, publisher of the Globe and other New England properties, is feeling no pain in the wallet. Despite the crash i the companys share price, he has pulled down huge bonuses the past couple of years.
The Times editorial board remains completely silent on the matter of big bonus for the boss and effective pay reduction for the workers, what with no raise and increased health care costs. If Wal-Mart or Halliburton were to undertake such moves, can you imagine the sorts of editorials they would publish?
Of couse, it is clear that the Globe is getting close to a death spiral rate of circulation decline:
In the six-month reporting period that ended in March, the Globes weekday circulation dropped 8.5 percent dipping below 400,000 for the first time.
That translates into a 17 percent annual decline. Very few business survive very long with that rate oif decline in sales. But of course, very few CEOs survive bad decisions like the purchase of Affiliated.
Meanwhile, construction proceeds on the Pinch Mahal, the lavish new state-of-the-art skyscraper being built by the company. The hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to complete this status symbol, not to mention the overhead to run it once completed, have to come from somewhere. And the employees are learning that means them.
Thomas Lifson 8 25 06
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