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NYT: Do as I say, not as I do with unions

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The New York Times’ editorial board maintains a solidly pro-union position, but when it comes down to business, the newspaper company admits that position doesn’t necessarily stick, as shown by the recent round of talks with the Boston Globe’s seven unions.

“There is little doubt that American workers need unions,” the New York Times editorial board wrote in a February 2008 editorial. “A bill that would have made it easier for unions to organize workers died in the Senate last June. Congress should take up this issue again to stop companies from using threats and other aggressive tactics to keep organized labor out, and to help win workers their rightful share of the economic pie.”

From the corporate side, a spokeswoman for the Times Co. said the company believed in the “fair treatment” of every employee, but that the editorial board is not a mouthpiece for the business as a whole.

“Each of our 18 daily newspapers has independent editorial control, and the business side has no say in the positions taken by our editorial boards,” Times Co. spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said in e-mail. “So there could be disagreement between the position of the business and editorial sides and between the editorial sides of our various newspapers.”

The Times Co. has demanded that the seven unions draw up at least $20 million in budget cuts or it would shutter the Globe. Times Co. and Globe negotiators engaged in an epoch, 19-hour battle with the holdout Globe Union, the Boston Newspaper Guild ending in a draw this morning. Check out my full coverage of the union talks here.

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