Monday, May 04, 2009

Sustaining the Unsustainable

Boston Herald:

Boston Globe unions’ resolve to protect lifetime job guarantees began to crumble this morning as the mailers union agreed to modify the perk under threat of a shutdown of the paper.

“We want to keep the newspaper open and we believe the New York Times [NYT] threat, that if we didn’t come to some sort of agreement, that we would close,” said Mary White, president of Teamsters Local 1 which represents the mailers.

The breakthrough development came at about 3:30 a.m. during marathon talks and left just two major unions - the Boston Newspaper Guild and the pressmen - clinging to the lifetime job guarantees.

Lifetime job guarantees for people who work the printing presses for a newspaper??? Who's the business genius up in management who signed off on that?

That's like hiring people back in the 70's to make 8-track tapes and telling them, "Don't worry. Your job here is safe. You just keep churning out these tapes and we'll keep paying you."

I'm going to resist the urge (this time) to jump on the back of the wagon with all the folks who are saying the Globe's going under because of its liberal slant. Is that the main reason fewer people are subscribing or purchasing advertising? Hardly.

It's a NEWSPAPER, for crying out loud!

Emphasis on "paper".

The Globe's simply dying under the weight of its unsustainable business model. It's bleeding from a wound that is entirely self-inflicted: Overpaid workers (with "lifetime job guarantees") producing an obsolete product.

If the folks supposedly running the show over there are unable to cut operating costs to offset the losses in revenue, they need to wake up to the reality that it's time to say good-bye to the printed version.

I can't think of one thing, for which I'd need to drop 75 cents on a newspaper to find, that isn't readily available on line for free.

World news
National news
Local news
Movie and TV listings
Stock quotes
Sports scores
Book reviews
Classified ads
Gardening tips

The death of the printed newspaper has been visible on the horizon for years. You'll get no sympathy from me if you go under for having failed to modify your business plan accordingly. You can't say you weren't warned.