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Boston Globe: A vote on the future of newspapers?

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The union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, has said that if the current contract offer is rejected and the Times imposes a 23 percent across-the-board wage cut, it will file a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), charging the Times had negotiated in bad faith. That could tie the paper up in legal proceedings for months, if not years, while the NLRB makes a determination.

The Boston Globe lost $50 million last year and is on track to lose $85 million this year. The New York Times Co. has said it needs to wring at least $20 million in savings from the Globe this year. Half of that would come from the concessions that the union, which includes about 700 employees, is voting on Monday.

Earlier this year, the Times said it would close the Globe if it couldn't make the cuts. But since winning concessions from six of the Globe's seven unions, it has focused on across-the-board wage cuts rather than a closure.

That's because The New York Times Co. would like to entertain an offer to sell the Globe, some media analysts say.

"Having some resolution about labor issues is almost a prerequisite to a sale," says Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a media research and educational foundation in St. Petersburg, Fla. "I don't think there's any real likelihood that it would be sold with the labor contract in turmoil or in appeal at the NLRB."

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