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Newspaper staff reject NYT's pay offer

THE Boston Globe said on Monday it will impose a steeper 23 percent wage cut in the wake of its largest union narrowly rejecting US$10 million in annual pay and benefit concessions that the newspaper's parent, The New York Times Co, said were needed to keep the paper from shutting down.

The Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents 700 editorial, advertising and business employees, voted 277-265 on Monday against the new contract after the Times Co said it needed US$20 million in annual savings from Globe unions - half from the Guild.

Six other Globe unions have approved concessions - but they hinged on the Guild's ratification of new terms.

The Times Co demanded the US$20 million in annual concessions amid an increasingly dire financial situation at the Globe. The newspaper, like many others, has struggled as readers migrated to the Internet, advertising revenue declined drastically and circulation fell. The Globe had US$50 million in operating losses in 2008 and had been projected to lose US$85 million this year.

Employees at dozens of other newspapers have recently agreed to pay and benefit cuts, but those proposed to the Globe's Guild members would have been among the deepest.

The Times Co had said if the Guild rejected the proposal, it would try to impose a 23 percent wage cut. It also could follow through on an earlier threat to close the 137-year-old newspaper, which would require giving 60 days notice to employees and the state.

In a statement released after the vote, the Globe said it was disappointed with the outcome and has no "financially viable alternative" but to declare an impasse and impose the deeper wage cut to achieve the necessary savings.

The Globe said the newspaper would be willing to meet with the union this week to review implementation of the cut.


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