The Boston Business Journal reports today that the New Times Co. has asked for more than $10 million in concessions from the Boston Globe’s Newspaper Guild in order to avoid closing in less than 30 days.
According to the BBJ:
“Additional cuts sought by the Times (NYSE: NYT), which is threatening to shutter the broadsheet if the company’s demands for cost-savings are not met within a month, include reducing severance for laid-off employees to half its current contractual level and adding 2 1/2 hours to the work week.
Perhaps most controversial of all, the Times wants to do away with lifetime job guarantees for Globe employees who were on board when the Taylor family sold the Boston paper to the Times for $1.1 billion in 1993.”
But one factor is missing from all of these discussions about cuts and givebacks. And that’s what is the strategy moving forward? What does the New York Times Co. plan to do with the Boston Globe and Boston.com? What is their vision for transforming the Globe into a profitable venture? Will the role and mission of the newspaper change? Do they have a more aggressive online strategy? What will be the fate of the print edition?
These are the questions I would be asking if I was a member of the Newspaper Guild (disclosure: I was once a member of the Newspaper Guild and one the reporters who helped bring Guild representation to the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester). Why should employees agree to salary and benefits cuts if the New York Times Co. is going to return in three months to ask for even more reductions? So far the plan for the Globe seems to be simply to slash salaries, reduce payroll, and increase subscription prices.
I’m not hopeful that that strategy will be successful in the long term.