UPDATE 2-New York Times does not plan to close Boston Globe

Tue Jun 9, 2009 9:55pm EDT

* Globe union files govt complaint to block pay cut

* Times says 23 pct pay cut will keep Globe from closing (Adds union filing government complaint, Globe comments)

By Robert MacMillan

NEW YORK, June 9 (Reuters) - The New York Times Co (NYT.N) said on Tuesday that it does not plan to close The Boston Globe, a day after its largest union rejected a $10 million package of concessions aimed at cutting costs at the 137-year-old newspaper.

But tensions are only deepening between the Globe and the Boston Newspaper Guild. The Times has said it will cut more than a fifth of union members' pay to get the savings that it needs. The union on Tuesday responded by petitioning the U.S. government to block that move.

The Times said it will cut the pay of members of the Boston Newspaper Guild by 23 percent after they narrowly rejected the concessions. The concessions that they rejected included an 8.4 percent pay cut, elimination of some benefits, and furloughs.

The union responded by filing a complaint about the pay cut with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday.

"The Boston Newspaper Guild will take all necessary steps to pursue and reach a fair and livable agreement," Guild President Dan Totten said in a statement released on Tuesday evening. "We will also oppose the company's drastic and extreme move ... through any legal means necessary."

The NLRB is an independent U.S. federal government agency in charge of investigating unfair labor practices. A hearing will take place on June 16, the union said.

The Times Co has said that it could impose its pay cuts if it had reached an impasse with the guild.

The $10 million that the Globe sought from the union is part of a $20 million package of cost cuts that the Times wrested from several unions at the paper.

The Times said the 23 percent pay cut would account for the newspaper guild's cuts after the union rejected the package.

"Because we have achieved the $20 million in savings we needed, we do not foresee closure at this time and are focused on executing the Globe's turnaround plan."

The Times's statement removes fears among media experts and Globe employees that the company could shut down the paper, but does not resolve lingering resentment among the union members.

The union said on Monday evening that it still wants to sit down with the Globe's management to hammer out a new deal.

In its statement on Tuesday, the union said it scheduled a meeting with Times officials next Monday to begin work toward a new agreement that its members could support.

The Globe offered a different interpretation of the meeting.

"The meeting scheduled for Monday is to discuss the implementation of the 23 percent wage cut," said Globe spokesman Robert Powers.

The Globe said it still considers talks at an impasse.

The Times has said that the Globe is on track to record an $85 million operating loss this year and that it has to save money to keep the paper viable.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing Bernard Orr)

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