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Globe union members rally for a new contract

Boston Newspaper Guild members hold a #FairnessAtFenway rally outside Fenway Park Sunday.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Members of the union representing Boston Globe employees, who have worked for more than 19 months without a new contract, rallied Sunday afternoon outside Fenway Park to demand a new agreement with the newspaper ownership.

The Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents about 300 newsroom, advertising, and production employees at the Globe, has criticized the pace of contract talks with management. John Henry owns the Globe and is also principal owner of the Boston Red Sox.

The union is fighting for basic protections for its members and a collective bargaining agreement that will put its relationship with management on a fair basis, said Scott Steeves, the union’s president, in a statement Sunday afternoon.


A Boston Newspaper Guild member during a Sunday rally outside Fenway Park. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

“We are fighting to ensure our members continue to have a voice in the decisions that affect us,” Steeves said in the statement. “That makes the whole institution of the Boston Globe stronger. And that makes Boston stronger.”

Boston Globe Media Partners said in a statement released Sunday afternoon through spokeswoman Heidi Flood, “We are awaiting the Guild to inform us that they are prepared to return to the table. We have been and remain prepared to finish the work of bargaining a new fair contract.”

The union said in a Friday statement that it opposes contract terms proposed by the newspaper, including what it described as the elimination of seniority, the ability to fire workers without just cause, outsourcing of newsroom jobs, reduction of the union’s ability to arbitrate disputes and bargain, and a provision that would allow a new owner to ignore the union contract.

The union also criticized the Globe’s hiring of law firm Jones Day, which it calls “notorious for dismantling union contracts at other newspapers.”

The Globe union drew national attention Friday, when unions representing players in Major League Baseball and in the National Football League offered their support of the newspaper’s employees in Twitter posts.


Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said: “After more than 19 months without a contract and employing union-busting tactics that threaten the Boston Newspaper Guild’s very existence, it is time for a fair deal for the employees of the Boston Globe.”

In Boston, Sunday’s rally outside the ballpark began at about 1 p.m., shortly before the Red Sox were due to play the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, fans could not attend the game.

Dozens of Globe union members, most in red shirts, gathered outside the park’s entrance at the intersection of Van Ness and Ipswich streets for what the union called a “#FairnessAtFenway” rally.

They were spaced apart to follow public health guidance and wore masks, while some carried signs. One sign read: “Strong Contract Strong Globe Strong Boston.”

Some members addressed the rally using a bullhorn, including one man who said: “Fair is fair. That’s what we need to send [as] a message to these guys.”

Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards attended the rally to show solidarity with the newspaper workers, she said on Twitter.

Following the rally, the Globe employees marched around the ballpark and chanted their demand for a fair contract.

Felice J. Freyer, who covers health policy and public health, criticized the company’s management in its dealings with the union in a Twitter post Sunday.


“.@BostonNewsGuild members have been working long hours to bring you the news during difficult times. We’re eager to keep at it. But Globe management thinks the best use of their time is to spend 19 months trying to bust the union. How about working together? #FairnessAtFenway,” Freyer wrote.

Janelle Nanos, a business reporter at the paper, said in a tweet that the union is asking for a contract that demonstrates a commitment to fairness.

“What the Globe’s owners are offering will gut the many protections we have,” Nanos wrote. “Now more than ever, we need to ensure newspapers stay strong.”

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.