Peter Mancusi on Boston Globe


Peter Mancusi

Peter Mancusi

I have the pleasure of working with Peter Mancusi, an executive vice president at Weber Shandwick in the Cambridge office.  Peter is a former Boston Globe journalist who ran the business section as business editor from 1999 to 2002.  He has been closely following the developments at the Boston Globe which threaten its ability to survive the Great Media Collapse of 2009.

Here’s his reaction to the decision last night by the Boston Newspaper Guild refusal of $10 million in concessions proposed by the New York Times Co.  The New York Times Co. – which owns the Globe – wanted employees to slash a total of $20 million in wages and benefits in order to save the struggling newspaper.  The Guild was the last union at the paper to vote – and the only one to refuse the concessions.

“Both sides mishandled this.

The union, or at least some elements of it, seems intent on a confrontation.  I understand taking a tough negotiating stance but, really, what do they think they’re going to be able to negotiate?   The vote “no” crowd says union members should not take a greater cut than management—5 percent.  Whatever the merits of that argument (and even if the 5 percent number is right) a 5 percent cut is not going to result in the $10 million in reductions the Times says it needs.  So now the Times is implementing a 23 percent pay cut to get there, which is a disaster for the union and will only prompt  more good people to leave the Globe.  Maybe the union can stop the pay cut and force the Times back to the table, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

As for the Times, this should have been a relatively easy vote to win.  All over the country, reporters are taking pay cuts that are more or less what the Times was asking of the union; there is no sympathy outside the Globe newsroom for the lifetime job guarantees; and everyone believed the company was in the kind of financial straits that warranted such draconian reductions.  But having threatened to close the paper to get the attention of the Globe’s unions and negotiate cutbacks, the Times simply sat on the sidelines for the most part.  I know the publisher gave an interview and sent out a letter or two, but the “no” faction controlled the debate.  And he who controls the debate usually wins the fight, or at least this vote.”


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