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Boston Globe rejects cuts

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by KP, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    There seems to be a basic misconception about why the contract was rejected. Had the major feature been the 8 percent pay cut, I have little doubt it would have been approved.
    The issue is how many Globe employees would be asked to take 100 percent pay cuts with the new deal and under what terms their departure would take place.
  2. bob

    bob Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't there also health care considerations involved?
  3. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Friend of mine, in another field and in the middle of the country, makes about 60K and pays about $800 a month on his mortgage. I make a good bit above that but pay three times that to rent a semi-dump. So a 23 percent cut is substantial regardless of the locale.
  4. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    Having served there in a previous life, I can only guess that's advertising staff. The writers are indeed on a contract that pays a set amount.
  5. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    I left the Miami desk five years ago (January 2004) and was in the lower $60K range.
  6. bob

    bob Member

    I don't know what that $0 in Toledo was all about, but that was a reporter/photog list.
  7. How much of a jackass do you have to be to shit on the Globe's workers? For one thing, you're ignoring that there have been several rounds of buyouts in the past decade in which higher-paid employees have been ushered out the door. Those replaced them have been brought in on the low end of the pay scale. If you don't believe that, well, how come every A-list piece of talent they've recruited in recent years, from Chris Snow to Michael Smith, has bolted the paper at the first available opportunity? Second, though you obviously refuse to believe it, living in Boston is going to cost you a ton, on a level surpassed only by NYC, SoCal and the Bay Area. And third, the "leaders" in this industry are more "monkey see, monkey do" than actual monkeys themselves. If they see the Times can get away screwing workers at the top of the chain this egregiously, it will trickle down to the midsized papers and down to the guys making 22K per year, and sooner rather than later (yeah, I know, they're doing it already. This will only make it worse for everyone).

    But go ahead, keep imagining that the Globe's reporters are rolling in dough and thus don't deserve our support ...
  8. bob

    bob Member

    well said, Bruce
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    In my experience, people who say "The Average American can't' sympathize with X" are actually saying "I don't much sympathize with anyone else."
  10. TheMethod

    TheMethod Member

    This is the something, industry-wide, that can't continue. Papers of all levels should do whatever they (reasonably) can to retain their best employees. Clearly, the farther down the food chain you go, the harder that's going to be, but the way things are going now, papers seem damned relieved when somebody good (worth paying) leaves for somewhere else. It's lunacy. It's backward. It's not helping.
  11. bob

    bob Member

    I agree with that, but losing top talent is not the reason we're in this mess. It's just a side issue.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I'm a jackass? Fine, as long as you're making it personal, let me tell you two things about myself. One is that I live in the Bay Area, so according to your own statement I have a keener understanding of the cost-of-living issue than those in Boston do. The other is that very recently I walked into a conference room, held my nose and voted for a contract that called for universal pay cuts, the potential elimination of my job and the certain elimination of my friends' jobs. The reason I voted that way is that I believed my guild negotiators when they told me the results of a no vote would be so terrible that we really didn't want to go down that road. This has been the case in guild negotiations throughout the country.

    But not Boston. And allow me to continue my jackass ways for just a bit longer and get all factual about the deal the Globe turned down:

    --190 staffers would have lost their lifetime guarantees. By definition these people were hired before 1992. So they don't fall anywhere within your picture of the low-paid replacements for the Chris Snows and Michael Smiths of the world. And as Michael Gee pointed out, the guarantees are really what the no vote was about.

    --I am going to total up what these folks were going to get in exchange for giving up the lifetime job guarantees. Although it should be obvious that most of these people are well above the $72K minimum, I will use that for ease.

    NO LAYOFF UNTIL JAN. 1: Bare minimum of $36,000 in continuing income
    SEVERANCE OF FOUR WEEKS, PLUS TWO WEEKS PER YEAR OF SERVICE: Bare minimum of $52,615 based on an employee with 17 years experience who is at minimum scale

    That is an absolute, absolute low end of $121,615 that each person could have gotten for giving up the lifetime guarantee. Those numbers would have swelled upward with length of service and pay adjustments; a 20-year vet making $85,000, for instance, would have been guaranteed $147,423. If that person were laid off in favor of keeping a worker with less seniority, throw on another 20 weeks of severance pay, taking the total to $180,115. Whatever the actual final number is, it's a hell of a lot more than the rest of the industry is getting.

    We all just watched the autoworkers damn near drive their industry off a cliff because they wanted to fight for the world as it was 20 years ago. The more I analyze this deal, the more it sounds like the no voters in Boston took the same attitude. And then to hear the follow-ups -- it would have all been better if Pinch had just come and talked to us, and that ridiculous letter that "we know you don't really want us to take a 23 percent pay cut." There was also the e-mail from the reporter who urged a no vote because he didn't think NYT Co. had the cash to pay severance if it shut the place down. I am continually amazed at how certain portions of our industry can remain unconvinced that the problems are real and the solutions are painful.

    Yeah, fine. When I say people don't have sympathy, I mean I don't have sympathy. And I hope the Globe staffers who turned down their six-figure packages have to stand and explain to the pressmen and mailers and everyone else why this was simply something they could not abide.
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