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

Differing takes on today’s Globe vote

Interesting difference in emphasis in the New York Times’ and the Boston Globe’s coverage of today’s vote by the Boston Newspaper Guild.

The Times story, by Richard Pérez-Peña, quotes three Globe employees, all reporters, all of whom say they’re voting “no” — Scott Allen, Brian Mooney and Beth Daley. The story also notes that Guild president Dan Totten’s less-than-enthusiastic public comments have been “widely interpreted as urging rejection.”

The Globe story, by Rob Gavin, works into the lede the news that the paper’s delivery-truck drivers approved $2.5 million in concessions on Sunday. Gavin, like Pérez-Peña, also quotes three reporters, but with a different emphasis — Mooney (no), Erin Ailworth (yes) and Scott Helman (maybe).

The picture you come away from in reading the Times is that the deal — which would cut pay by about 10 percent and eliminate 190 lifetime job guarantees — is all but certain to be rejected. The Globe, by contrast, makes you think things are truly up in the air.

The Guild concessions, if approved, would add up to about $10 million, half the $20 million that the New York Times Co. is demanding. If the Guild votes “no,” management has said it would impose a 23 percent pay cut, which the Guild, in turn, says it would appeal to the National Labor Relations Board.

Management has not ruled out shutting down the paper, although that threat seems to have diminished since it was first leveled more than a month ago.

We’ll know tonight.

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7 Comments

  1. Peter Kadzis

    Perhaps the Times might welcome a NO vote.Yes, it's a black mark in terms of public perception.But Wall Street and money markets might applaud seeing the Times tough it out.Brian Mooney's suggestion/assertion that the Times does not have the cash on hand to close down adds an interesting wrinkle.Might a declaration of bankruptcy give the Times breathing space?Whatever happens, no good will come of it.– Peter Kadzis

  2. KPW

    This entire discussion has me recalling my own days in a newspaper union — at the old Essex County Newspapers. A thoroughly bizarre arrangement. There were four papers — Beverly Times, Peabody Times, Newburyport Daily News, and Gloucester Daily Times. All but Gloucester newsrooms were unionized, but even then, it was a dues-optional union.I argued at length that the union was a paper tiger — toothless — from the onset. To have any influence in bargarining, we'd have been better off if we were a full union shop; otherwise why the heck have one at all. Completely absurd premise, even if you agreed with the notion of unions in the first place. This vote will be very interesting to watch, but I'm curious as to how many newsrooms these days ARE unionized.

  3. luscious-purple

    On this page the Newspaper Guild says it has more than 34,000 members, but it doesn't say how many different employers those members work for.The Guild links page includes a number of local guilds, but I don't have time to check out the list to see how many actual newspapers the local guilds translate into.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Peter: The Times Co.'s approach to this whole disaster has been perverse enough that it makes you wonder. Although I can't imagine Peréz-Peña, a good reporter, would let himself be a party to that.

  5. rozzie02131

    For the sake of argument, let's say it's leaning toward a "no" vote. There's no hard information to verify that, but a good reporter making the rounds can pick up the sense that a "no" vote is more likely than "yes."I think the Globe would have to emphasize the "no hard information" angle and play it as neutrally as possible. Their readers are their customers, owners, and fellow employees, and any speculation, no matter how well informed, is not going to play well among any of those readers. The Times, and the Boston Herald for that matter, can better afford to use between-the-lines information to hint at the probabilities and possibilities.This is why some newspapers use AP copy to cover their own labor stories.

  6. Ellen Steinbaum

    Did anyone else find it darkly amusing that one of Perez-Pena's major points was how hard it would be for the NYT, as a "champion of unfettered journalism" to be responsible for closing the Globe?

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