Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Condemnation

I honestly cannot do more than shake my head at this one. The Boston Globe has been in danger of closing, and it's union just flipped off the attempts of its parent company (The New York Times) to try and save it. The Globe has been hemorrhaging cash, and the Times has tried to institute wage cuts and roll backs in order to save it. We aren't talking about being down by a couple of hundred thousand dollars, either. The 137 year old paper lost $50,000,000 last year and is on pace to lose even more this year. The Times has even hired an investment bank to facilitate a possible sale of the paper, but no one has expressed interest yet. With such deep losses, and a union that has fought against continual existence, can anyone be bold enough to want to take this on?

My mother and brother are teachers. One of my closest friends is a teamster. I understand that there are unions in this country, and that they were originally put into place to protect its constituency, but there has to come a point when there is a little give. The union is wrong! Listen, the market is tough out there. Jobs aren't as plentiful as they were just a few years ago. I've been in the market. I have friends who are out of work and searching. The union of the Boston Globe sounds like they would rather their entire staff be tossed into the streets than take a pay cut.

Let me back up a sec. Pay cuts are awful. In fact, I had to take one while moving from a job that was laying off entire division to another job. It has been difficult, and I am working on re-budgeting myself, figuring out how to tighten the belt, and just putting more enjoyable aspects of my life on hold until better times. The thought of shaving my head to save on haircut costs has crossed my mind multiple times (and may happen in the next month). Still, unemployment doesn't pay you very much, definitely not enough to pay a mortgage. That being said, it is quite possible that the Globe feels that nothing will actually happen, and it will continue to endure for time everlasting.

Look around. Stores like Circuit City are gone, snatched up at deep discount and re-opened as nothing more than a website. Businesses both local and global have made massive cutbacks or shuttered completely. GM has closed dealerships and plants, and extended summer dark periods on other plants, just to save money. Looking to the newspaper industry, members of the Rocky Mountain News have actually launched a new website to take the place of their paper. indenvertimes.com had to crop up because their paper closed. Shuttered completely. So, yes, Globe union, this can happen, and if you keep fighting efforts to save the company, it will happen.

I have read a great deal about the decline of the newspaper industry. The story-line is everywhere, including in the papers themselves. It would be the next major catastrophe after the Detroit issues, costing the jobs of far too many, and effecting massive changes. The union of the Globe may have just cut off their own noses, sadly, and they only won by twelve votes. Maybe it's time for something else to change around this nation.

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