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

Brian Mooney: Just vote no

Boston Globe political reporter Brian Mooney, an outspoken opponent of the concessions that were voted down last month, is urging yet another no vote — this one on the second deal negotiated by the Boston Newspaper Guild and the New York Times Co.

Adam Reilly has the details, including the full text of Mooney’s message to fellow Guild members. The vote takes place on July 20.

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  1. Treg

    Mooney's argument is compelling. And he's right. As I said before, the Guild really does have leverage, and really can hold out for something better.

  2. acf

    Really? I think he's looking at retirement in the near term and is comfortable digging his heels in. Unfortunately, it's the younger members, still far away from the retirement option, that will suffer from his obstinance. His current position seems different from what he was saying in the days immediately after the new agreement, when the management numbers he refers to were also available. Then, while still not happy with the new agreement, he seemed content not to oppose it. What changed?

  3. Treg

    acf – quite the opposite. It's the younger members who are risking an opportunity to get a fair deal that preserves benefits and pay and that demands that management shares the burden more.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Treg: There is no question that management should take more of a hit. Moving beyond that, though, you seem to be taking the position that things at the Globe really aren't all that bad.When I read your comments, I come away thinking that you believe the Globe is somehow the great exception to every metropolitan newspaper in the United States. Am I wrong?

  5. mike_b1

    Great piece by Michael Wolff in this month's Vanity Fair, in which he recalls Michael Crichton's early (1993!) and dead-on musings on the future of newspapers.Younger reporters and editors should dig up that piece (Wired, vol. 1 no. 4) before they cast their vote, for it well may inform their view of what "long-term" means (and whether the Globe — or any newspaper — should be part of their picture).

  6. Treg

    Dan, obviously, things are very difficult for newspapers, and the Globe is no exception in that way.However, the Globe is published in an exceptional environment. A metro area that includes Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Tufts, Northeastern, Brandeis, and so on, can support at least one good daily newspaper, don't you think?I don't think the Globe's been all that good since the sale to the Times Co. This management has run the thing into the ground and now wants the Guild to pay so they can sell it. With creative thinking and better management, I think the Globe is one of the major newspapers that can survive this period. The Guild should work out the best contract possible instead of selling themselves down the river.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Treg: I absolutely believe the Globe will survive. But the factors you point to mainly explain why there's been a heavier bleed to online in Boston than in most other parts of the country. In addition, the collapse of real-estate advertising has been much more severe in the Northeast than elsewhere. For instance, GateHouse's Massachusetts papers are performing worse than the rest of the chain.If I were a Globe employee, I think I would favor whatever moves the paper to new, responsible ownership as quickly as possible. But you're kidding yourself if you think the next owner's first move is going to be anything but a new round of cuts.

  8. Treg

    I guess we'll see about that. Right now the Times Co. can't sell 'til they're straight with the Guild. One thing at a time.If they're all gonna get cut anyway, may as well stand tall while they can, right? Who knows.

  9. Mike Saunders

    Treg, some people aren't going to get cut — which is the entire point of the rebuttal letter. For the end-of-lifers, the hangers-on in classified, the ad folks made redundant by SAP, they all have a strong, somewhat valid reason to dig in their heels. That's understood. They know they're gone and want to work out the best deal possible. But there are hundreds of newer people contributing to the vital work of collecting and distributing news who aren't looking for golden parachutes. They plan to be around when new owners come in a take the Globe in new directions. And that "can't sell 'til they're straight with the Guild" is a direct parroting of the flawed strategy that put us in this mess to begin with.

  10. Treg

    Mike, I see your point. But why should those younger ones who hope to be around to take the Globe in a new and wonderful direction sell themselves out now? Obviously, the Times Co. can get a better price if they can get the Guild to swallow huge cuts now. And an even better price if they can bust the Guild altogether.But I don't care about the Times Co. The new owners will need people around who know how to report and write and edit and publish news. That's where the Guild comes in – the Globe's greatest asset.And I don't see how you can call what Mooney is demanding a "golden parachute." More like preserving a more reasonable portion of what he's spent a career earning.

  11. Mike Saunders

    Treg, those people still around when/if the Globe turns the corner will likely be able to recoup some of what's given back in the current contract. If you expect to be axed, there's absolutely no incentive to say yes and every reason to say no. But what does that say about someone's current value to the ongoing enterprise? re: better price if the Guild is gone. You're probably right. That's probably part of the strategery coming from NY.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Treg: The Globe's great asset is its readers. If anyone in management or the Guild thinks otherwise, then maybe the paper really is doomed.

  13. Treg

    Dan, I had no idea. When is it my turn to edit the op-ed page? No, wait, don't tell me – my job is morning delivery, right?Here I was thinking the Globe is a business and the readers and the advertisers are customers. Sure, the advertisers are attracted by circulation and clicks online, so in that regard, readers are an asset. But there's nothing to even talk about if the content isn't any good. Who provides that?

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