Point And Laugh

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 4, 2009

The New York Times has taken up union busting! In related news, I want popcorn!

The New York Times Co. has threatened to shut the Boston Globe unless the newspaper’s unions swiftly agree to $20 million in concessions, union leaders said.

Executives from the Times Co. and Globe made the demands Thursday morning in an approximately 90- minute meeting with leaders of the newspaper’s 13 unions, union officials said. The possible concessions include pay cuts, the end of pension contributions by the company and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees now enjoyed by some veteran employees, said Daniel Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe’s biggest union, which represents more than 700 editorial, advertising and business office employees.

The concessions will be negotiated individually with each of the unions, said Totten and Ralph Giallanella, secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters Local 259, which represents about 200 drivers who deliver the newspaper.

“We all know the newspaper industry is going through great transition and loss,” said Giallanella. “The ad revenues have fallen off the cliff. Just based on everything that’s going on around the country, they’re serious.”

Catherine Mathis, a Times Co. spokeswoman, declined to comment. Globe publisher P. Steven Ainsley also declined to comment.

I think that unions ought to go the way of dinosaurs, but at this point, I am rooting for injuries. And then, there is this:

NEW York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller equated the Gray Lady to a PBS pledge drive, claiming readers have offered to donate money to keep the Times alive.

Keller was speaking at Stanford University to dedicate a new building for the campus newspaper — an event he likened to a “ribbon-cutting” for “a new Pontiac dealership.”

The bombastic broadsheet editor went on to equate the keep-the-Times-alive movement to the cause of starving African refugees, saying, “Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause.”

I thank Bill Keller for that comment. He made my weekend.

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