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Boston Globe Stayin’ Alive (For Now)

boston-globe-logo.jpgToday, the New York Times Company released a statement saying that it will not be shutting down the Boston Globe in the immediate future. The NYTCO, which owns the Globe, had threatened to close the paper if the unions representing Globe staffers didn’t agree to $20 million in budget cuts. Even though the Globe is going to remain open for the time being, major financial problems at the Times Company and continued disagreement between management and the Boston Newspaper Guild means that there is still a possibility the paper might eventually be closed.


Originally, the Times Company imposed a deadline of May 1st for the negotiations, but that deadline was extended until today at midnight after it was discovered that NYTCO management made a $4.5 million accounting error in the original calculations about the fate of the Globe. When today’s deadline passed without the two sides reaching an agreement, the Times Company said it would be making a filing under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. A WARN filing gives workers the 60 days notice that is required by law when a company wants to shut down a business.

Though the Globe’s unions claimed to have agreed to all of the required cuts prior to the deadline, the two sides were still at odds, reportedly over lifetime guarantees and seniority rules that would prevent some of the paper’s employees from being laid off. This morning, the Times Company announced that it would not be making the WARN filing and that it had “reached agreements with six of the seven unions that were involved in recent negotiations.” The lone holdout is the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents the majority of the paper’s employees. In its statement, the NYTCO said they’re “disappointed… that we have not yet been able to reach an agreement with the Guild” adding that they “are evaluating our alternatives… to achieve as quickly as possible the workplace flexibility and remaining cost savings we need to help put The Globe on a sound financial footing.”

Massive losses throughout the NYTCO have led to the urgent need for budget cuts. Two weeks ago, the New York Times Company reported losses of $74.5 million for the first quarter of this year. The Boston Globe posted a $50 million operating loss last year and is poised to lose another $85 million in 2009.

Read on for the full statement from the NYTCO:

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
FORM 8-K
CURRENT REPORT

Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): May 4, 2009

The New York Times Company
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Today, The New York Times Company released the following statement regarding recent negotiations with unions representing employees of The Boston Globe:

“We are very pleased to have reached agreements with six of the seven unions that were involved in recent negotiations. This includes agreements with the drivers, mailers, pressmen, the electricians, machinists, and technical services group. As a result of these agreements, which are subject to ratification by union members, we expect to achieve both the workplace flexibility and the financial savings that we sought from these unions. We are not, therefore, making a filing today under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. We appreciate the productive and cooperative approach demonstrated by the leadership of these unions throughout these difficult negotiations.

“We are disappointed, however, that we have not yet been able to reach an agreement with the Guild. Because of that, we are evaluating our alternatives under both the Guild contract and applicable law to achieve as quickly as possible the workplace flexibility and remaining cost savings we need to help put The Globe on a sound financial footing.”

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this statement are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include national and local conditions, as well as competition, that could influence the levels (rate and volume) of retail, national and classified advertising and circulation generated by our various markets and material increases in newsprint prices. They also include other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s publicly filed documents, including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 28, 2008. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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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