India heat wave abates, but deaths rise to 22

The Boston Globe faces an ultimatum: Reach a financial concession or force a shut down, the Guild reported.
The death-toll from sunstroke has risen to at least 22 in eastern India although the grueling heat wave sweeping across many parts of the country is abating, authorities said.

The notice would allow The New York Times Co., which owns the Massachusetts newspaper, to close it in 60 days, the Globe reported. The Times Co. is seeking $10 million from the Boston Newspaper Guild, $5 million from the mailers, $2.5 million from the delivery truck drivers and $2.2 million from the press operators, the Globe said. The Guild, which is the main union, represents more than 600 editorial, advertising and business office workers, according to the Globe. “We have provided our unions with a copy of a notice that we are prepared to file if we are unable to reach an agreement by the midnight [Sunday] deadline,” Globe spokesman Robert Powers told the newspaper. “This notice is required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires 60 days advance notice before the closure of a business.” The Guild said the ultimatum was issued after it presented management with a proposal that exceeds the $10 million in cuts demanded. “This tactic, while expected, is representative of the bullying manner in which the Times Co. has conducted itself during these negotiations,” the Guild said in a statement. “Despite the company’s hostile tactics, we continue to negotiate in good faith and work diligently toward an acceptable outcome,” it added. In addition to the about $20 million in givebacks, another key disagreement was over a quest to eliminate job guarantees that affect about 450 union employees, the Globe reported. A Times spokeswoman told the newspaper early Monday that talks were continuing past deadline. The negotiations follow a gloom outlook for the 137-year-old newspaper, which is expected to lose $85 million in 2009 if it does not make major cuts, according to the Times Co. The Globe’s profits have plummeted as newspaper readers and advertisers have shifted online. Powers said filing a notice to shut down would be a difficult but necessary option. “Unfortunately, given the state of the negotiations, it is one we must be prepared to take if negotiations are not successful,” he said. The developments come amid a raft of newspaper closings and cuts that have seen the end of print editions of The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado; The Seattle Post-Intelligencer; and The Christian Science Monitor. The Rocky Mountain News shut down completely; both the Seattle paper and the Christian Science Monitor remain in online editions. The company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times and 58 other newspapers and online sites said in late March that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Sun-Times Media Group, Inc. said it would continue to operate its newspapers and Web sites as usual while it improves its cost structure and stabilizes operations.