As the Globe Turns: Guild Memo
Last week, we passed along a list of Globies who have recently accepted buy-outs. Since then, we’ve hoped things would get better on Morrissey Blvd. Seriously. Despite some quasi-sniping between our two shops, we’re all in the media business, and times are tough everywhere.
Their pain is our pain. United we stand, divided we fall. One for all and all for…something. Etc.
Alas, despite our best wishes, times at the Globe remain decidedly grim. According to a Boston Newspaper Guild memo that fell into our hot (but sad — really, really sad) little hands, “the company plans to ask each union to reopen contracts for the purpose of operational ‘flexibilities.’” The Guild’s president, Daniel Totten, wrote the memo and added, “this is not a request we take lightly.”
No. We wouldn’t either.
According to the memo, on June 3 Globe publisher Steven Ainsley and “other top management” met with leaders of the 13 labor unions (collectively known by the catchy moniker “The Boston Unity Council of Newspaper Unions”).
The discussion focused on “the paper’s declining financial performance, in terms of revenue and circulation.” They also talked about some of the cost-cutting measures that have already been implemented, including wage freezes, closing foreign bureaus and consolidating operations between Boston.com and the print people.
During the meeting, the company “did state that each union could have a representative examine not only revenues, but profit and loss statements. All must sign a confidentiality agreement not to reveal the numbers, however.”
The troublesome part of the memo, though, was saved for the end.
[The Guild has] first-hand knowledge of the relentless pressure facing The Globe, and the newspaper industry in general. We have lost hundreds of members in recent years to buy-outs and outsourcing, such as janitorial services to private contractors, and customer service representatives to a non-union ship in India.
Clearly, the company believes more must be done. Ainsley stated, “We have to be a smaller operation. We have to do our business differently at all levels.”
The Guild says it plans on making some recommendations on that front, chief among them that the paper “stop paying bonuses and/or raises to managers.”
We’re with you, brothers and sisters. Fight the good fight.