'Lifetime Guarantees' At the Boston Globe

Been following the Boston Globe labor negotiations with its Newspaper Guild? You can't really miss it, since every media outlet is paying attention. Journalists love stories about journalists. And, yes, that goes for us too.

What gets the arguments started, though, is this "lifetime guarantee" job provision, which seems to be a sticking point between management and labor. (Update: They worked it out. Sort of.)

You can see both sides. Why should management get to dismiss a worker who's been around a while, progressed up the wage scale, and become a little expensive? On the other hand, why shouldn't management be allowed to eliminate jobs that are, in some cases, just not necessary anymore? And what if the person who's been around a while is, frankly, less than useful? Or less than versatile?

For instance, what if a newspaper wants its reporters to file stories to its Web site? I've heard tales of reporters who couldn't handle the software and procedures. And I've encountered instances where reporters refused or demanded more money for filing the same information to two platforms.

There's been a lot of ink and pixels spent about how newspapers have to adapt to the new digital information age. The arguments could extend to their labor forces as well.

Disclosure: I am, of course, a management weasel with an Internet bent, so my comments should be taken with a grain of salt. However, in a former life, I was actually a Teamster shop steward. Oh yeah, the New York Times , which owns the Globe, is a partner of ours.

Check out Julia Boorstin's take on the talks ...