Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not Surprised Boston Globe Union Supports New Concessions -- They didn't have much choice

In an unsurprising development, the Boston Globe's largest union voted to accept a similar package that they rejected six weeks ago. They didn't have much choice.

It was accept these concessions or the Globe would go out of business.

So the union has staved off the Globe's demise.

For now.

The New York Times is still trying to sell the Globe and its sister paper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Getting the union to accept the offer makes it easier for the Times to sell the paper -- a new owner would not have to worry about having to negotiate a new union contract.

Which is not to say that a new owner might not push for new concessions.

The question is: what additional changes does the Globe still have to make. Even with the concessions, the paper is still not profitable -- it's not even close. Last year, the Globe racked up more than $1M in losses per week, about $81M annually. The new concessions slice off about $20M, leaving the Globe still negative $1M per week.

That's not sustainable. Not for the Times. And not for new owners.

There will have to be more changes and cuts.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet we'll hear more about those changes soon, by Labor Day. It's not as if the Times and Globe don't know they need to make more cuts. They just needed to focus on contracts first.

I'd also bet that the Times will continue to work to selling the Globe rather than keeping the property for itself.

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