One line I’ve been recycling this week is that the showdown between New York Times Co. management and the Boston Globe unions would not come down to midnight on the 30th day — that union officials, based on their own comments, seemed to understand that both the Times Co. and the overall situation was serious, and would quickly agree to $20 million in cuts as the price of keeping the paper alive.
Well, now I’m not so sure. Coverage during the week has suggested increased intransigence on the part of the unions, and especially of Newspaper Guild president Dan Totten. And today, Christine McConville begins her report in the Boston Herald thusly:
Boston Globe unions are showing signs of digging in against management as frustrated labor leaders say their members have already given up enough in the effort to keep the struggling broadsheet afloat.
Meanwhile, the Herald’s Jay Fitzgerald learns that it might be possible for the Times Co. to place the Globe in bankruptcy even without selling it. That could actually be good news, as it gives Times executives a way of restructuring the paper without having to find a buyer in a brutal economic environment and without having to shut it down. (And has the Herald been indispensable this week or what?)
It is despicable that the Times Co.’s cash-fattened managers have said virtually nothing this week. They owe an explanation to the community at least as much as they do to their employees.
Still, there’s no question that the systemic disaster that’s bringing the newspaper business down has more to do with the Globe’s problems than any specific mistakes by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Steven Ainsley and crew. So it’s interesting to see, as Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix reports, that there may be a mounting insurrection among some reporters against the union leadership, who could conceivably destroy the paper rather than give up perks like lifetime contracts.
So did I leave anything out? Oh, yes. Almost forgot. Howie Carr is an idiot.