A letter purportedly sent to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company, and signed only from “Concerned Reporters at The Boston Globe,” asks that he take a personal role in the ongoing Newspaper Guild dispute at The Boston Globe.
The letter, first posted on The Poynter.org Romenesko site, follows Monday’s narrow defeat of a proposed agreement that would have included an 8.3 percent pay cut, a week-long unpaid furlough and other union concessions.
With the proposal voted down, the Times Company has announced it will institute a 23 percent pay cut.
The Times reported late Tuesday: “A day after its members narrowly rejected a package of wage and benefit cuts, the Boston Globe’s largest union filed a complaint on Tuesday with federal regulators, challenging the 23 percent pay cut the newspaper had set in motion.”
At the same time, The Globe reported: “The New York Times Co. has hired an investment bank to manage the possible sale of The Boston Globe, and the company plans to request bids for Boston’s major daily in the next couple of weeks, according to two people who say they may make offers on the newspaper.
“The Times Co., which has declined to comment in recent months on whether it is selling the Globe, has hired Goldman Sachs, the same Wall Street investment bank the Times Co. has hired to sell its 17.5 percent stake in the Boston Red Sox, the potential bidders say.”
The entire letter to Sulzberger is below:
Dear Mr. Sulzberger,
We have long admired your commitment to producing the world’s best journalism. We know, as a former reporter, that you appreciate the work we do and how we have continued to publish hard-hitting, thoughtful papers throughout these hard times.
Despite all the rhetoric of the last few weeks, we believe you want to do the right thing—that, at bottom, you’re a mensch. We’re all too aware of the awful economic climate and the precipitous challenges to the newspaper industry. Most of us went into this work because of our love for it, not for the money. We never expected high salaries; we just wanted reasonable pay, enough to make ends meet.
We’re writing to you because we’re asking for you to step in and show us what we have admired about you for years—your fair-minded leadership. We’re asking you to call off the lawyers, head off a bitter fight, and come forward with a plan that would attract a bit more support from the Guild.
More than 130 members of the Guild—surely enough to tip the balance in any future vote—have signed a petition, saying we’re ready to take painful cuts and do what it takes to preserve the long-term future of The Boston Globe. Many of us voted against the contract because we saw it as inequitable—that we were being asked to take a steeper cut than management. If you could find a middle ground that would provide more equity—such as making our pay cut equivalent to that of management—I’m sure you’ll find significantly more support.
We believe that you don’t want us to take a 23 percent pay cut. We believe you understand that the consequences of such a drastic cut would be disastrous for many of us who have worked tirelessly for the Globe for years. Not only could many of us lose our homes and our child care, but too much of our top talent might no longer be able to afford to work for a newspaper that they’ve given their hearts and souls to for so long.
Mr. Sulzberger, we’re asking for your leadership. You can make a difference. We desperately need it right now.
We look forward to your response.
All the best,
Concerned Reporters at The Boston Globe