The Boston Globe and its largest employees union finished all-night talks without a deal Monday, but plan to be back at the bargaining table soon. Lifetime job guarantees are among the final sticking points on a deal that could avert a shutdown of the 137-year-old newspaper.
The union and management stopped negotiating at about 8 a.m. and "should resume in the next day or so," said Cosmo Macero, a spokesman for the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe's largest union.
The Globe's owner, The New York Times Co., had threatened to close the newspaper unless its unions agreed to $20 million in cuts to annual expenses by midnight Sunday. The company showed labor negotiators a draft of a 60-day shutdown notice, required under federal law, and said it would file it if concession demands were not met. The Guild called that a "bullying" tactic.
But the company said it would not file the shutdown notice Monday because it had reached agreements with six other unions, including those that represent drivers, mailers and pressmen.
That left the Guild, which represents about 700 editorial, advertising and business employees. The Times Co. statement said it was disappointed "that we have not yet been able to reach an agreement with the Guild."
The Guild said it had proposed more than the $10 million in cuts to annual labor costs the Times Co. sought from that union. The Guild said the givebacks called for "tremendous sacrifices, across virtually all categories of compensation and benefits."
Employees said the proposal calls for a 3.5 percent pay cut for Guild employees, plus three unpaid furlough days, for a total salary reduction of just under 5 percent. The other cutbacks include reductions in pension and retirement plan contributions by the Times Co.
Neither side would reveal what was bogging down the negotiations, but a key hang-up appeared to be lifetime job guarantees, which give strong protections from layoffs, though staffers can still be let go for cause.
The Times Co. has sought to eliminate the guarantees. Guild president Daniel Totten has called elimination of the guarantees a "nonstarter."
Approximately 470 employees across six unions have the lifetime guarantees, including about 190 Guild members. Some veteran Globe workers believe eliminating the guarantees would allow the Times Co. to dismiss older, higher-paid employees.
Scott Allen, a reporter who was worked at the Globe for 16 years, said the tense negotiations felt like a "roller coaster" for many employees.
"We're living with a level of uncertainty that most of us have never experienced in our professional lives," Allen said. "Our careers are on the line here."
Mary White, president of Teamsters Local 1, which represents 245 mailers _ who insert advertisements and other circulars into the newspaper and aid in distribution _ said the union reached a tentative agreement around 4:30 a.m. It includes $5 million in concessions and changes in lifetime job guarantees. White said the concessions were "necessary in closing the deal."
A union representing 210 delivery drivers also reached a tentative agreement Monday. Official Ralph Giallanella said the union agreed to about $2.5 million in concessions.
The Times Co., which bought the Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993, has said that of all its newspaper properties, the Globe has been the most dramatically affected by the recession and the advertising downturn. The Globe had $50 million in operating losses in 2008 and is projected to lose $85 million this year.
Associated Press Writers Denise Lavoie and Melissa Trujillo contributed to this report.