updated 5/4/2009 12:19:16 PM ET 2009-05-04T16:19:16

The Boston Globe and its largest employees union finished all-night talks without a deal Monday, but plan to be back at the bargaining table soon. Lifetime job guarantees are among the final sticking points on a deal that could avert a shutdown of the 137-year-old newspaper.

The union and management stopped negotiating at about 8 a.m. and "should resume in the next day or so," said Cosmo Macero, a spokesman for the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe's largest union.

The Globe's owner, The New York Times Co., had threatened to close the newspaper unless the newspaper's unions agreed to $20 million in cuts to annual expenses by midnight Sunday. The company showed labor negotiators a draft of a 60-day shutdown notice, required under federal law, and said it would file it if concession demands were not met. The Guild called that a "bullying" tactic.

Two unions representing mailers and drivers reached tentative agreements Monday morning. That left the Guild, which represents about 700 editorial, advertising and business employees, still to seal an agreement.

The Guild said it had proposed more than the $10 million in cuts to annual labor costs the Times Co. sought from that union. The Guild said the givebacks called for "tremendous sacrifices, across virtually all categories of compensation and benefits."

Employees said the proposal calls for a 3.5 percent pay cut for Guild employees, plus three unpaid furlough days, for a total salary reduction of just under 5 percent. The other cutbacks include reductions in pension and 401(k) contributions by the Times Co.

Neither side would reveal what was bogging down the negotiations, but a key hang-up appeared to be lifetime job guarantees, which give strong protections from layoffs, though staffers can still be let go for cause.

Lifetime guarantees a 'nonstarter'
The Times Co. has sought to eliminate the guarantees. Guild president Daniel Totten has called elimination of the guarantees a "nonstarter."

Approximately 470 employees across six unions have the lifetime guarantees, including about 190 Guild members. Some veteran Globe workers believe eliminating the guarantees would allow the Times Co. to dismiss older, higher-paid employees.

Scott Allen, a reporter who was worked at the Globe for 16 years, said the tense negotiations felt like a "roller coaster" for many employees.

"We're living with a level of uncertainty that most of us have never experienced in our professional lives," Allen said. "Our careers are on the line here."

A Globe spokesman did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

Mary White, president of Teamsters Local 1, which represents 245 mailers, said the union reached a tentative agreement at around 4:30 a.m. It includes $5 million in concessions and changes in lifetime job guarantees. White said the concessions were "necessary in closing the deal."

A union representing 210 delivery drivers also reached a tentative agreement Monday. Official Ralph Giallanella says the union agreed to about $2.5 million in concessions.

The Times Co., which bought the Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993, has said that of all its newspaper properties, the Globe has been the most dramatically affected by the recession and the advertising downturn. The Globe had $50 million in operating losses in 2008 and is projected to lose $85 million this year.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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