Would Boston Newspaper Guild Consider Striking?


Could the Boston Newspaper Guild go on strike?

Could the Boston Newspaper Guild go on strike?

File this under rampant speculation.

But now that news has leaked that New York Times Co. hired an investment bank to shop the Boston Globe – has the power shifted to the Boston Newspaper Guild?

What would happen if the Guild decided on a work stoppage or a strike?  Or at least put the possibility on the table?

By disrupting the Times Co.’s ability to produce the daily newspaper wouldn’t it disenfranchise any potential buyers?  Would it be really be possible for the Times Co. to sell the Globe under those conditions?  Would even the threat of a work stoppage or a strike be enough to get the Times Co. back to the bargaining table?

The argument against this Guild strategy would be that the Times Co. has already threatened to shutter the entire operation.  The question is whether the Times Co. meant it or were they just using the threat of a shutdown as a chip in its negotiations with its labor unions.  If it is the former then a strike threat by the Guild could trigger the Times Co. to proceed with shutting down the newspaper – and then have an easy scapegoat in the Guild.

But if the Times Co. can’t afford to shutter the Globe – as has been speculated by some Guild members – then a strike or the threat to strike could be a powerful weapon for the Guild.  Because who is going to buy a financially troubled newspaper that isn’t even publishing?

This could turn into a game of chicken between the Times Co. and the Guild.

Earlier this week, the Guild voted down concessions from the Times Co. asking for $10 million in cutbacks to salary and benefits – as well as giving back 190 lifetime job guarantees. In retaliation the Times Co. immediately issued a 23 percent cut in salaries for all Guild members (which number about 700 workers and take effect next week).  The Guild has filed an injunction to stop the Times Co.

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