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Boston Globe Staffers Throw Sad Pay Cut Potluck Party

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Members of the Boston newspaper guild at the beleaguered Boston Globe were given a 23 percent pay cut this week, so the they’re hosting a “Farewell to Fair Wages” barbecue tomorrow afternoon as the cut takes effect. The event will take place in a reporter’s back yard in Milton, Mass. just outside of Boston. It will be a typical suburban shindig where guests can drown their sorrows in “pot luck fare, a kiddie pool, a keg of beer…and hot dogs.” There will also be a bluegrass band. If you were looking for a single anecdote to illustrate the sad collapse of print media, this is it.

boston-globe-logo.jpg
Members of the Boston newspaper guild at the beleaguered Boston Globe were given a 23 percent pay cut this week, so the they’re hosting a “Farewell to Fair Wages” barbecue tomorrow afternoon as the cut takes effect. The event will take place in a reporter’s back yard in Milton, Mass. just outside of Boston. It will be a typical suburban shindig where guests can drown their sorrows in “pot luck fare, a kiddie pool, a keg of beer…and hot dogs.” There will also be a bluegrass band. If you were looking for a single anecdote to illustrate the sad collapse of print media, this is it.


Things have now gotten so bad in the media industry that parties full of writers and editors ironically celebrating the loss of their livelihoods have become almost commonplace.

Hot dogs at the Globe staff barbecue will supposedly be “trimmed by 23 percent” to commemorate the pay cut. Globe staffers received the pay cut after contract negotiations with the New York Times Company, which owns the paper, reached a stalemate. Heavy losses at the paper in recent years have led the Times Company to threaten to close the Globe if they are unable to make significant budget cuts. Other unions at the Globe have signed off on reduced contracts, but the Guild has argued with the management over lifetime job guarantees. Last week, the Guild has filed complaint with the National Labor Relations Board arguing that the Times Company is negotiating in bad faith.

Last Wednesday, word got out that the Times Company was seeking to sell the Globe. That same day Boston Newspaper Guild president Dan Totten released a statement where he attempted to encourage potential Globe buyers to give union members limited ownership of the paper.

The Guild says their pay cut potluck party is being held “in the name of camaraderie and solidarity,” but they’re clearly also eager to drum up publicity for their cause. A spokeswoman from the lobbying firm hired by the Guild last month for “strategic messaging” sent a “media advisory” that gave the location of the party and informed the press that “Globe union members will be available” at the barbecue “to talk about the pay cut’s effect on their lives.” Read the full notice below:

“MEDIA ADVISORY:

Globe Union Members Hold “FAREWELL TO FAIR WAGES” Party

Boston Globe union members to gather at “Farewell to Fair Wages” party on the day their 23 percent pay cut takes effect

When: Sunday, June 14, 2009 2-4 p.m.

Where: [Redacted] Milton, MA

What: On the day The Boston Globe plans to impose a 23 percent pay cut on nearly 700 reporters, editors and other employees — and the day before the New York Times Company and the Boston Newspaper Guild return to the negotiating table — union members and their families will gather in a reporter’s backyard for a barbecue in the name of camaraderie and solidarity. There will be pot luck fare, a kiddie pool, a keg of beer, bluegrass music, and hot dogs — trimmed by 23 percent.

Globe union members will be available to talk about the pay cut’s effect on their lives. They will also discuss their hope that both sides can reach an agreement Monday that doesn’t harm families so deeply — and that allows everyone to concentrate on producing the agenda-setting journalism that makes the Globe so vital to Boston and New England.”

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Things have now gotten so bad in the media industry that parties full of writers and editors ironically celebrating the loss of their livelihoods have become almost commonplace.

Hot dogs at the Globe staff barbecue will supposedly be “trimmed by 23 percent” to commemorate the pay cut. Globe staffers received the pay cut after contract negotiations with the New York Times Company, which owns the paper, reached a stalemate. Heavy losses at the paper in recent years have led the Times Company to threaten to close the Globe if they are unable to make significant budget cuts. Other unions at the Globe have signed off on reduced contracts, but the Guild has argued with the management over lifetime job guarantees. Last week, the Guild has filed complaint with the National Labor Relations Board arguing that the Times Company is negotiating in bad faith.

Last Wednesday, word got out that the Times Company was seeking to sell the Globe. That same day Boston Newspaper Guild president Dan Totten released a statement where he attempted to encourage potential Globe buyers to give union members limited ownership of the paper.

The Guild says their pay cut potluck party is being held “in the name of camaraderie and solidarity,” but they’re clearly also eager to drum up publicity for their cause. A spokeswoman from the lobbying firm hired by the Guild last month for “strategic messaging” sent a “media advisory” that gave the location of the party and informed the press that “Globe union members will be available” at the barbecue “to talk about the pay cut’s effect on their lives.” Read the full notice below:

“MEDIA ADVISORY:

Globe Union Members Hold “FAREWELL TO FAIR WAGES” Party

Boston Globe union members to gather at “Farewell to Fair Wages” party on the day their 23 percent pay cut takes effect

When: Sunday, June 14, 2009 2-4 p.m.

Where: [Redacted] Milton, MA

What: On the day The Boston Globe plans to impose a 23 percent pay cut on nearly 700 reporters, editors and other employees — and the day before the New York Times Company and the Boston Newspaper Guild return to the negotiating table — union members and their families will gather in a reporter’s backyard for a barbecue in the name of camaraderie and solidarity. There will be pot luck fare, a kiddie pool, a keg of beer, bluegrass music, and hot dogs — trimmed by 23 percent.

Globe union members will be available to talk about the pay cut’s effect on their lives. They will also discuss their hope that both sides can reach an agreement Monday that doesn’t harm families so deeply — and that allows everyone to concentrate on producing the agenda-setting journalism that makes the Globe so vital to Boston and New England.”

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Disclosure: Hunter Walker worked as a corporate communications intern at the New York Times Company from August 2006 to May 2007.

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