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Despite there being no agreement with the Boston Globe, The Newspaper Guild/CWA unit at the paper last week set a date to vote on one nonetheless. The two sides began meeting last week in the wake of a rejection of the paper's previous offer, which trimmed $10 million in salaries and benefits.

Globe owner The New York Times Co. said earlier this year that its entire New England operation -- which includes the Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and their web affiliates -- was poised to lose $85 million this year. The company said it would sell or shutter the paper if it didn't gain $20 million in annual concessions from its unions. While the unions representing press operators, mailers and truck drivers all voted to approve $10 million in concessions, the Guild's members rejected their offer.

As such, the company said it would institute an across-the-board 23 percent wage cut, which brought the Guild back to the table. The Guild's bylaws require a 30-day notice for voting on a contract agreement, hence the need last week to call for a vote.

The Times Co. is apparently moving forward with sales plans anyway, while Guild officials have put on hold a meeting with the National Labor Relations Board in order to challenge the 23-percent cut.

In other union news, Guild members at the Washington Post agreed to a new two-year contract earlier this month, with members gaining concessions on web workers having to join the Guild, while management is now able to identify as many as 25 percent of Guild-covered workers as being protected from seniority rules in any future layoffs.

While there is no salary increase in the new contract, workers may get a one-time bonus for as much as $1000, the Bloomberg wire service reported.

In Cleveland, 500 union workers at the Plain Dealer voted to take an 8.1-percent pay cut and 11 unpaid days off within the next year. The agreement covers members of The Guild and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

In Albany, N.Y., where the Times Union declared an impasse with unionized workers, the paper is planning to cut 35-45 jobs. The president of the Guild local, Tim O'Brien, told a nearby paper that it would challenge any layoffs in court. "We believe that legally we will have a strong case if they go forward," O'Brien told the Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y.

Earlier today, the Boston Guild said in a statement, "We feel we are close to reaching an agreement that we can bring to Guild members for a vote." An already-scheduled vote. Ah, unions.

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Title Annotation:Globe Newspaper Co.
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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