Hoping to minimize the pain of a 23 percent pay cut, the Boston Newspaper Guild has set July 20 as the date for a vote on a new contract — despite the lack of even a preliminary agreement with the Boston Globe.The move comes after the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) paper and its largest union spent more than 26 hours in formal talks without a resolution; they are supposed to meet again Monday. Guild Executive Director Daniel Totten told members in a letter that talks are progressing but admitted setting a date comes with some risk, according to the Globe; the union requires 30 days between reaching an agreement and a vote. A Globe spokesman said the talks “have been constructive, and they are continuing.”
Meanwhile, a National Labor Relations Board hearing into the Guild’s complaint against the paper is on hold azs long as the two parties are talking. The narrow defeat of a $10 million concessions package last week was met by the company-imposed pay cut — and the Guild complaint against the cut as well as the paper’s declaration that talks were at an impasse.
– Totten talk: Totten separately told E&P by e-mail that the union “WILL adapt and change to industry needs” but also talked about missteps by NYTCo: “The NYT has made many misjudgments and mistakes about the strength, character and resolve of the members of the Boston Newspaper Guild throughout the ‘negotiations.’” His letter to the members before the last vote added a sharp layer of rhetoric and may have helped defeat the proposal, even though the union made no formal recommendation.
– Wishful thinking: Over at the Neiman Journalism Lab, Martin Langeveld envisions a scenario that could the Boston Herald as the only daily paper in town while the Globe morphs in to something else. His first suggestion: make Boston.com the top priority.