Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Massive Loss By NY Times Co. Could Force Boston Globe Unions to Cave

Dreary 1Q Numbers Accentuated by Ad Plunge in New England

Everyone expected the first-quarter results for The New York Times Co. to be bad. But not this bad.
It lost $74.5 million or 52 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting a loss of no more than 6 cents a share. Ouch.
But that's what happens when ad revenue for all your newspapers falls 28.4 percent. It was even worse at the Times' New England Media Group, where ads plunged 31.6 percent.
That will make today's negotiations between the Boston Newspaper Guild and the Times even more interesting, as the company seeks to wring $20 million of concessions from the unions, who are faced with a threat of the Globe being shuttered.

The Times has already said the Globe is on track to lose $85 million this year. If so, the unions may have little choice but to swallow hard and cough up lots of givebacks, including pension contributions, lifetime job security and 401k matches.
Unions always want to have some leverage when dealing with management. But with this earnings report, leverage has left the building. Left in its place is some guy from finance holding a plug that he looks too eager to pull.

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