The New York Times Co. Sunday night said it would shut down the Boston Globe if its cost-cutting demands weren't met. As it's been saying for a month. The deadline came and went. And?

As of 2:03 am ET Monday, the company and its four major unions were still talking. The Times is keeping up the pressure: At 11 p.m. Sunday it handed the unions a copy of the federally-mandated notice it plans to file Monday morning, stating that the paper will close in 60 days.

In other words: No seriously, we mean it, don't test us, we're shutting you down. Management evidently feels it is not being taken seriously. Newspaper analysts have said in recent weeks that the Sulzberger family, which bought the Globe in 1993 for a record sum, is unlikely to shut the paper down.

The top issue is whether the unions will give up lifetime job guarantees for 450 workers. Those still exist? The unions say they won them with major concessions to management over the years.

Shutdown threats worked for Hearst at the San Francisco Chronicle and for Newhouse at the Newark Star-Ledger. Which means if the Globe unions continue to resist management demands, for $20 million in cuts at a paper that loses more than double that, they will leave Times Co. management with a stark choice between humiliating, fiscally reckless capitulation — or keeping its word.

[Boston Globe]