The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) jacked up the pressure in Boston late Sunday night with a warning that it plans to file state notice Monday that it is closing the Boston Globe in 60 days — unless its four major unions and the company agreed on a deal by midnight to save $20 million. But midnight passed without any notice that a deal had been reached or negotiations ended; it is 2:20 a.m. ET as I write this and nothing definitive has been announced.
Filing the 60-day notice to close a plant does not mean the Globe will be closed and it doesn’t mean an end to negotiations. But it is the biggest weapon left in the company’s arsenal and the New York Times Co. wants to show that it means business — or no business.
The original deadline was midnight May 1; it was extended through the weekend after the Boston Newspaper Guild drew attention to a gap in the figures provided to it by the company and the sides admitted progress.
According to the Globe, though, union officials say they have essentially agreed to the concessions; the Guild said its proposal “exceeds the $10 million in cuts demanded and represents “tremendous sacrifices, across virtually all categories of compensation and benefits.” But the paper also reports that the Guild and the other unions are still resisting the company’s demand to eliminate so-called lifetime job guarantees; the guarantees mean the covered employees can only be fired for cause, not laid off at will. The guarantees were retained after concessions in contract negotiations, according to union officials.
– NYTCo/Globe management statement: “We have provided our unions with a copy of a notice that we are prepared to file tomorrow if we are unable to reach an agreement by the midnight deadline. This notice is required under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires 60 days advance notice before the closure of a business. Filing the WARN notice is a difficult step that we would like to avoid but, unfortunately, given the state of the negotiations, it is one we must be prepared to take if negotiations are not successful.”
– Guild response (via Boston Herald): “In response to this proposal, the Company tonight provided us with a copy of a notice drafted under the Workers Adjust and Retraining Notification Act. The WARN act requires sixty days advance notice before the closure of a business. The Company has said it is prepared to file this notice in the event negotiations are not successful. This tactic, while expected, is representative of the bullying manner in which the Times Company has conducted itself during these negotiations. Despite the Company