Boston Globe staff face ballot over 23% pay cut

BOSTON - Journalists at the Boston Globe will vote next month on a whether to accept a deal that includes an 8.4% pay cut and the end of lifetime job guarantees held for almost 200 staff.

If they do not vote to accept the deal the New York Times Company has said it will revert to a previous proposal and impose cost savings, including a 23% pay cut.

The 190 Newspaper Guild members who currently hold lifetime job guarantees all joined the Boston Globe before 1992.

In exchange for giving up the guarantee they will be paid a $33,000 lump sum on top of any severance package.

Union members met last night to discuss the proposals which are part of an effort to save $20m in total with the Guild responsible for half of that figure.

Under the latest deal on the table from the New York Times Company the majority of the savings will come from a proposed pay cut of 8.4%, which will apply to the Guild's 600-plus members.

Further savings will be made with pension freezes and an increase to the working week from 37.5 hours to 40 hours.

The cuts should ensure the short-term future of the paper, but it is scheduled to lose $85m this year alone and there is speculation that the New York Times Company could go on to sell the loss making paper if it can find a buyer.

The Newspaper Guild has not come out for or against the deal.

Daniel Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, said: "What has been put before these members is really unconscionable.

"There seem to be a lot of upset members of the crowd tonight and rightly so."

Members are split against the deal. The Boston Globe quoted a number of staff -- copy editor Glenda Buell said she expected to vote against the proposal. "I see this as a slap in the face to the people who are working their fannies off to keep this place alive."

Sports writer Chris Gasper said he would likely vote to accept the proposal. "If somebody put a gun to my head and I had to vote on it right now, I'd reluctantly vote yes."

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