For the second consecutive Sunday, thousands of Boston Globe subscribers did not get their papers because of a shortage of drivers after a switch to a new delivery vendor.
More than 6,000 papers, representing about 3 percent of the Globe’s 205,000 Sunday subscribers, never left subcontractors’ distribution centers Sunday, a company executive said — even after dozens of Globe employees responded to a 5 a.m. plea by management for volunteers to help with deliveries.
“We apologize for our inconsistent delivery,” said Peter Doucette, the Globe’s vice president of consumer sales and marketing. “Our expectation is that every subscriber gets their paper on time every day and we’re not going to rest until we get it fixed.”
The delivery problems stem from the Globe’s switch to a new distributor, ACI Media Group, which has been unable to hire enough drivers to take over the routes of the previous vendor. Some former drivers have told the Globe that ACI wanted them to deliver more papers for the same base rate. The new delivery routes also proved to be convoluted and time-consuming.
Meanwhile, a group of about 15 North Shore delivery drivers walked off the job at 3 a.m. Sunday, saying ACI and its local subcontractor don’t offer enough work to each driver, misclassify them as independent contractors instead of employees, and require them to pick up papers from a distant distribution center in Woburn, where they are forced to bag papers outside or in their cars. The carriers, organized by the Lynn Worker Center, said they left 3,000 papers behind Sunday.
“These workers are getting less money now with ACI,” said Julio Ruiz, executive director at the center, which represents immigrant laborers. “They’re risking their jobs [by speaking out]. They’re not going back to work until the company responds to their demands.”
ACI executives did not respond to requests for comment.
The delivery debacle prompted the Globe to hire back its former distributor, Publishers Circulation Fulfillment Inc., or PCF, which is scheduled Monday to reclaim deliveries in areas where the problems have been most severe.
Many of the routes that did not get delivered Sunday were in Greater Boston and were served by an ACI distribution facility in Newton.
Although Globe executives expect rapid improvement beginning Monday, they cautioned it could take as long as six weeks for service to return to normal everywhere.
Doucette said the companies were taking steps to recruit more drivers and that they rolled out better routing technology in one of the most troubled distribution areas.