RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
This morning, the future of another venerable American newspaper is in doubt. The Boston Globe's biggest union has voted against making millions in concessions in pay and compensation that its owner says would make the difference. The Globe's parent company is the New York Times Company, which now says it will slash the pay of union members 23 percent to keep the newspaper publishing. NPR's David Folkenflik has more.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: A few months ago, executives at the Times Company announced The Globe was on track to lose $85 million this year, and threatened to shut The Globe down. Many of the smaller unions yielded to demands for cuts, leaving a showdown with the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents the newsroom and business staffs. The proposal lost by just 12 votes out of more than 550 cast. Many guild members gathered at a bar called Franklin Southie on Monday night.
Mr. MICHAEL PAULSON (Religion Reporter, The Boston Globe): I'm a childhood Globe reader. I grew up in Newton, which is a suburb just west of Boston, and I learned to love newspapers by reading The Globe.
FOLKENFLIK: Religion reporter Michael Paulson has worked at the paper for more than nine years.
Mr. PAULSON: We have had an agonizing decision before us, two lousy choices, and it's been very difficult for people to grapple with what to do.
FOLKENFLIK: The Globe declared Monday that negotiations were at an impasse. While union officials say they still hope for talks, they seem likely to challenge the Times Company before the National Labor Relations Board.
Professor KATHERINE STONE (Law, UCLA): They can't just simply unilaterally say we're at an impasse. They have to bargain in good faith and exhaust their obligation to do so.
FOLKENFLIK: UCLA law Professor Katherine Stone says the Guild may have a legal point. The existing contract can revisit such financial matters as pay, but not non-financial issues like job security provisions.
Prof. STONE: It's a kind of brinksmanship they're playing, thinking that they don't have that much to lose. Either way, they're going to take a pretty significant cut, and they can hope for something better.
FOLKENFLIK: The new, deep cuts are to take effect next Monday. Absent new talks, an expensive legal fight may be on deck. David Folkenflik, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.