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Deadline extended for a deal to save the Globe

NEGOTIATIONS between unions at The Boston Globe and its owner, The New York Times Co, continued until midnight last night, United States eastern standard time (5am GMT), after the company agreed to extend its deadline for the newspapers' employees to make US$20 million in concessions.

"Because there has been progress on reaching needed cost savings, The Boston Globe will extend the deadline for reaching complete agreements with its unions until midnight Sunday May 3," Boston Globe spokesman Robert Powers said in a statement.

Leaders of the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe's largest union, asked for an extension of Friday's deadline after discovering what they called a US$4.5-million accounting error. The Guild said ownership was mistakenly counting the salaries and benefits of 80 people who have left their jobs at the Globe since the beginning of the year.

"We have given the New York Times Co and Globe management proposals for deep cuts in our members' pay and benefits that we believe will save The Boston Globe," Daniel Totten, Guild president, said in a statement. "We are awaiting the company's response."

The concessions sought by the New York Times Co could include pay reductions, a decrease in pension contributions and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees previously given to some senior employees.

Those guarantees state that staff cannot be let go without cause.

The Globe, like many newspapers, is struggling with declines in circulation and advertising. The Globe's operations lost US$50 million last year and are projected to lose US$85 million this year.

The New York Times Co announced in April it would close the Globe unless the concessions were met.


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