In Boston Herald Sale, Employees Are the Wishbone

January 3, 2018

Full disclosure: The hardreading staff forgot to get an MBA, so we might be off in this analysis. But the two bids to buy the Boston Herald clearly have very different interests at heart.

Start with the new offer from Revolution Capital Group, as described today by Herald reporter Brian Dowling.

Second potential buyer makes offer for Boston Herald

A Los Angeles investment group is pledging a $5.75 million bid for the Boston Herald, the second public bid for the tabloid since it filed for bankruptcy in December.

Revolution Capital Group filed its bid yesterday with the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The company previously offered to buy the Herald in 2013.

Components of Revolution’s bid add up to more than the $5 million offer that newspaper giant GateHouse Media made last month.

 

But it’s not just more – it’s who gets more. “Revolution is offering $3 million cash for the company, agreeing to honor $750,000 of paid time off for employees who join the company, and is pledging to pay out $2 million in severance.”

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Jon Chesto reminds us what the deal is with GateHouse.

GateHouse proposed paying $4.5 million in cash, as well as at least $500,000 in assumed liabilities, including paid time off owed to employees.

 

Unless our math skills fail us, that means Herald owner Pat Purcell gets $1.5 million less from a sale to Revolution, while employees at the shaky local tabloid get $2.25 million more.

Maybe that’s why “[the] new bid drew immediate praise from the Communications Workers of America, which represents more than 100 unionized workers at the Herald,” according to Chesto.

But Poynter Institute media business analyst Rick Edmonds points to Revolution’s acquisition of the Tampa Tribune in 2012, which it then sold to Poynter, owner of the Tampa Tribune, four years later. Edmonds told Chesto he thinks Revolution would likewise flip the Herald in a few years.

Long-term, Edmonds said, “[GateHouse does] make cuts themselves, and they have profit targets that they’re trying to hit. [But] they have a body of resources and competence that I don’t think Revolution Capital has.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the bankruptcy judge sorts that out.

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IBEW = Invisible Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

April 18, 2016

And CWA = Communications Wankers of America.

At least that’s how it looks in the local dailies. For the past week Verizon has been running this one-two punch of full-page ads in the Boston Globe (but, of course, not the Herald).

 

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Actually, there’s plenty to strike about according to two labor unions involved (and this Verizon worker – the Dickensian-named Jazmin Sypher – in a Guardian op-ed) but you’d never know it from the Communications Workers of America or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Hey, nudniks: At least run a couple of ads in the Boston Herald, eh? Those are your peeps at the thirsty local tabloid.


Verizon Workers at a DisADvantage in Union Dustup

April 15, 2016

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, telecom giant Verizon has been wallpapering the Boston Globe (but not the Boston Herald) with this full-page ad questioning why union workers are striking over cuts in healthcare and pension benefits.

 

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Yesterday, Verizon doubled down with two ads in the $tately local broadsheet: The one above, and this one.

 

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And the response from the striking Communications Workers of America/International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers?

Nada.

Same today: Verizon two ads, workers none.

Dumb.


Verizon Hangs Up on Boston Herald Readers

April 13, 2016

Telecommunications giant Verizon is engaged in another tug-of-war with its unionized workers, about 40,000 of whom walked off the job today.

From Reuters:

The strike was called by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that jointly represent employees with such jobs as customer services representatives and network technicians in Verizon Communications Inc’s (VZ.N) traditional wireline phone operations . . .Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.18.16 PM

Verizon and the unions have been talking since last June over the company’s plans to cut healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period.

The workers have been without a contract since its agreement expired in August. Issues include healthcare, offshoring call center jobs, temporary job relocations and pensions.

 

Verizon, of course, knew this was coming, so for the past two days the company has run this full-page ad in the Boston Globe.

 

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But the telecom has yet to run any ads in the Boston Herald, perhaps thinking the audience there would be insufficiently sympathetic to the Verizon pitch.

A strike of about 45,000 Verizon workers lasted two weeks in 2011. See here for the ad battle back then, in which virtually all the Verizon numbers were disputed.

On the other side, the unions were pretty aggressive in their advertising five years ago, even playing the 9/11 card.

Let’s see what’s up their sleeve this time around.