And now, finally some good news from the newspaper world. Six weeks to the day The Boston Newspaper Guild narrowly rejected a concession proposal from The New York Times Company, thrusting the possibility of having to close The Boston Globe’s doors for good, the union unanimously approved a new contract Monday night, allowing newspaper lovers all up and down the east coast to breathe a sigh of relief.
The vote: 366-179.
From The Associated Press:
“We are very pleased that the members of the Boston Newspaper Guild ratified their agreement. With this vote, all of the Globe’s major union contracts are now settled,” Boston Globe spokesman Bob Powers said in a statement. “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,” he added.
According to Poynter, the guild will take a 5.94 percent pay cut under the new deal. In addition, other reports cite the unfortunate notion that The Boston Globe is projected to lose $85 million dollars this year, and, along with the nearly six percent pay cut, the contract includes unpaid furloughs, a pension freeze, a reduction in health care benefits and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees.
“I’m relieved, but it’s sad because we gave up a lot and it was a very difficult negotiation,” Beth Daley, a reporter who cast a ballot against the new contract in the first vote, but changed her mind Monday, told The AP. “I don’t pretend the plight of the Boston Globe to be over by any means - but whatever it’s going to be, we’d get there quicker with this vote. We voted no with a narrow margin and we went back and we eked out a marginally better deal, marginally is the operative word. It was clear to me that if we were not going back to the table, it was going to prolong the agony.”
The deal obviously isn’t perfect, and we all understand that though this dispute is now finally over, that doesn’t mean The Globe’s workers aren’t going to feel any type of hit. But the silver lining in these dark clouds is the mere notion that the deal did get done, period.
Had this problem dragged itself out through more months, there was a very real possibility that one of this country’s premier newspapers would have had to shut its doors. That doesn’t have to happen now, and though it seems as though neither side truly won this war, the newspaper industry as a whole gained a vitally important victory Monday by displaying a sense of companionship and rationale when it needed to the most.
Yes, it isn’t ideal, but for the first time in a long, long time, positive news has finally come from the world of newspapers and modern-day journalism. And who knows? Maybe the industry as a whole can look at this development and keep the momentum moving forward somehow. Positive thinking, journalists. Positive thinking.
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