* Globe approves concessions 366-179
* Concessions include $10 mln in pay cuts, other givebacks
(Adds details on Boston Red Sox, Worcester newspaper)
By Robert MacMillan
NEW YORK, July 20 The Boston Globe's largest
union voted by a nearly 2-to-1 margin on Monday to approve pay
cuts and other concessions that would save the 137-year-old
paper $10 million a year and allow The New York Times Co
(NYT.N) to sell it.
The Boston Newspaper Guild voted 366-179 in favor of the
cuts. "It has been a long and difficult period for everyone and
we hope that we can now work with prospective buyers to help
The Boston Globe carry on with its vital mission to promote
good journalism and protect free speech," guild President Dan
Totten said in a statement on Monday.
The agreement ended more than three months of bad blood
between the union and the Globe. The Times Co had threatened to
close the daily, one of the largest and most respected in the
United States, if it could not get the concessions.
"We deeply appreciate the sacrifices that guild members are
making to help sustain The Boston Globe's mission of delivering
high-quality journalism to the greater Boston community," Globe
spokesman Robert Powers said in an e-mailed statement.
Under the terms of the deal, union members will take a 5.94
percent salary cut and other benefits will be scaled back. They
will also be subject to unpaid furloughs and a pension freeze.
Some members will lose lifetime job guarantees.
Union members in June rejected a previous agreement, which
would have cut pay by more than 8 percent. The Globe responded
by threatening to cut pay by about 23 percent before
negotiations resumed on the new package.
Although the guild tentatively agreed to support the new
package in June, doubts had arisen in recent days that its
members would vote for it.
THREE POTENTIAL BUYERS EXPRESS INTEREST
The guild is the last and largest of several unions to
agree to the cuts. With its agreement in hand, the Times Co
likely will try to find a buyer for the Globe, which it said
probably would book an $85 million operating loss this year,
absent $20 million in savings that it sought from its unions.
Three potential bidders have expressed interest in the
paper, including Stephen Pagliuca, a managing director at
private equity firm Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston
Celtics basketball team.
The Times Co paid $1.1 billion in 1993 to buy the Globe.
Now, its value, according to analysts, ranges from as high as
$250 million to zero.
The Times, which reports its quarterly financial results on
Thursday, is dealing like other U.S. newspaper publishers with
plunging advertising revenue and falling circulation as more
people get their news online.
It must also pay off hundreds of millions in debt during
the next few years, forcing the Sulzberger family that controls
the paper into selling assets, including its classical music
radio station, and borrowing money from Mexican billionaire
Carlos Slim to stay afloat.
The Times also wants to find a buyer for its other
properties in Massachusetts, including its stake in the holding
company that owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team, and its
other paper in the state, the Worcester Telegram-Gazette.
(Additional reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Peter Cooney)