By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

An incredible, non-credible proposal

The New York Times Co. is trying to force a 23 percent pay cut on the Newspaper Guild, which prompts the Outraged Liberal to ask: “What, no sacrifice of first borns?”

That really is one hell of a proposed pay cut. It’s hard to know what to make of such a move except to assume that management wants some sort of dramatic end game — a walkout by the Guild, bankruptcy, whatever.

Earlier today the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam — back from hardship dutyreported that Guild officers have gotten some mighty nice raises the past few years. But though Heslam’s enterprise might have sowed some dissension within the ranks at 135 Morrissey Boulevard, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and company seem intent on keeping Globe staffers united and pissed off.

You may have seen this already, but the Washington Post’s newly minted Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Eugene Robinson, has a smart take on the Globe’s woes today. And on and on it goes.

One final thought: Management’s latest offer could be thought of more as an opening gambit than a “last, best offer.” The 30-day deadline has passed, and the company has now said it will not close the paper until after a federally mandated 60-day warning period has passed — and it hasn’t even filed the necessary paperwork for that to happen.

What will management do when the Guild says no? Announce that it will close the Globe in two months? Sorry — now that we know the company wasn’t serious about closing the paper on Friday, and then on Sunday, that’s no longer credible. Unless you’re North Korea, you only get to make threats once.

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  1. Patricia of Trakai

    Holy moley. (Actually, my first reaction was, as they say, unprintable in a family newspaper.)I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation to put that kind of pay cut into perspective. Assuming a reporter’s pay of $60K, and assuming some reasonable figures for taxes/health insurance/other stuff taken out of paycheck, that translates to a pay CUT of something like $782 per month.I have no idea whether Globe editorial folks make significantly more or less than $60K. It just seemed like a ballpark figure to start with.I hope everyone who rants against the “MSM” takes a good look in the mirror and ask themselves how THEY would fare with such a draconian pay cut.

  2. Ryan

    Okay, so the Globe is in the shitter, losing $85 million a year, supposedly. If things are that bad, why doesn’t the NYT just GIVE the paper to the unions and let them deal with it?

  3. GFS3

    It appears if they are closer to an agreement this morning. I’m not sure how that would work with a proposal for a 23 percent cut.But even if they reach an agreement, there are still plenty of reason why the Globe is in big trouble. Snell

  4. io saturnalia!

    Beating Robinson to the punch, more or less, by about 20 years was the late great Spy magazine, which used to chronicle the venal and common, though still nose-in-the-air Sulzburgers in its “The Times” column.The Old Gray Lady is what she used to be, after all.

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