Globe highlights its own hypocrisy

A little over a year ago, the Boston Globe ran a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of editorials documenting the challenges facing food service workers– wages too low to live on, minimal job security, few organizing rights, and the risk of wage theft.

“These are all indecencies that, theoretically, should fall to lawmakers to address. But political will in Washington to raise the minimum wage has stalled, and labor enforcement, at both the federal and state levels, has been ineffectual,” one of the editorials said. “No, more humane working conditions in restaurants aren’t likely to arrive until patrons start demanding them as part of their dining experience.”

An almost identical story line has emerged over the past two weeks, but this time the Globe is at the center of the story — and reporting on it as well. The newspaper’s delivery system broke down when it shifted to a new contractor, leaving a large percentage of its print customers stranded without their morning paper. Despite efforts to rectify the situation, the problems continued on Sunday, with about 3 percent of papers going undelivered.

While much of the focus has been on the Globe’s poorly executed shift to a new delivery company, the nature of newspaper delivery work also has become an emerging theme.

The Globe reported last week that most newspaper delivery workers are immigrants from countries such as Guatemala, Brazil, and Haiti, the same people who mow lawns in the suburbs, wash dishes in restaurants, and clean offices.

On Sunday, a front-page Globe story graphically documented just how tough the work is. “The job, once the bastion of neighborhood kids looking to make a few extra bucks on their bikes, has evolved into a grueling nocturnal marathon for low-income workers who toil almost invisibly on the edge of the economy,” said the Globe story.

Drivers work 365 days a year and receive no vacation, no overtime pay, and no workers’ compensation. Because they are classified as independent contractors and not employees of the delivery companies they work for, they are not guaranteed health insurance or a minimum wage.

Patricia Soisson, who delivered papers for 22 years in Wellesley, quit her job in disgust in the wake of the delivery fiasco. “I can’t afford it. Even if I go out and get a minimum wage job at Dunkin’ Donuts, I’m going to probably do better than delivering the paper,” she said.

More than 200 people commented on the Sunday Globe story, many of them wondering how the liberal newspaper could fail to practice what it so often preaches on its editorial pages. “I remember when the Hyatt outsourced its housekeeping, the Globe took on the social/corporate aspect like a dog with a bone. Why is this different?” asked one commenter. Another said he planned to increase his tips. “I am ashamed to be a participant in this abuse,” he said.

There was also a short letter from a commenter to Globe owner and publisher John Henry. “Please sell the Globe to Arthur T. Demoulas. He knows how to run a business, treat his employees fairly, keep his customers happy, all while making a few bucks.”

–BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker makes $50 million in mid-year spending cuts. (State House News)

The state court system revamps its website, but requires that members of the public wanting to review case files visit the court in person rather than viewing the documents remotely. (CommonWealth)

A Lowell Sun editorial slams the Department of Children and Families for rejecting a Fitchburg couple as foster parents simply because they believe in corporal punishment with their own children.

Supporters of an expanded transgender rights bill will announce new supporters today: the New England Patriots, New England Revolution, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and TD Garden. (Boston Globe)

Eight state senators are on field trip this week to Colorado to learn about the state’s experience with legalization of marijuana. (Boston Globe)

A Boston Herald editorial says Senate President Stan Rosenberg should seek a compromise among senators on charter school expansion to head off an expensive ballot question campaign that will take place if the Legislature does not act on the issue.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

About face: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who recently scoffed at the idea that the city needed beefed up rules regarding lobbying disclosure, suddenly embraces such changes after getting hammered several times in the Globe over the last week about the City Hall access being enjoyed by a Somerville pal and former law partner of the city’s top lawyer. (Boston Globe)

New Boston City Council President Michelle Wu, talking about diversity in a wide-ranging interview, says she never looked at a career in politics as a youngster because she didn’t see elected officials who looked like her. (Keller@Large)

An Andover woman set up a trust for donated money to help Strider Wolf and his brother Gallagher, who were featured in a Boston Globe story on how the boys’ grandparents in Maine were struggling to raise them. (Eagle-Tribune)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

US Rep. Seth Moulton organizes congressional opposition to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plan to require fishermen to pay the cost of observers on their vessels. (Gloucester Times)

The Supreme Court hears a case today that labor advocates say could drive a stake through the heart of public sector unions. (The New Republic)

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is hitting the road to try to sell her state, dragged down by the decline in manufacturing, as an up-and-coming tech hub. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Hillary Clinton dismisses talk about her husband’s sexual indiscretions as a distraction from issues voters care about in a wide-ranging interview with the Globe editorial board. (Boston Globe) Bob Woodward says Clinton’s email debacle carries shades of Watergate. (National Review)

Vandals hit Donald Trump’s office in Lowell. (The Sun)

Joe Battenfeld states the fairly obvious: Massachusetts Republicans have no chance at winning one of the state’s nine Congressional House seats this coming fall. (Boston Herald)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Foreclosure petitions in Massachusetts jumped 50 percent in the first 11 months of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago. (Eagle-Tribune)

EDUCATION

Ludlow school superintendent Todd Gazda says replacing No Child Left Behind was a good start, but there is a long way to go to rid schools of what he says is a harmful focus on testing. (CommonWealth)

The community college faculty union is balking at a contract offer from the state for a 2.5 percent salary increase plus an additional 1 percent based on academic performance such as graduation and retention rates, (Standard-Times)

Worcester schools are seeing an increase in the number of students with limited or interrupted formal education. (Telegram & Gazette)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

John McDonough highlights the fact that 22 million people would lose health coverage if the Republican effort in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act were to succeed. (CommonWealth)

A medical group that operates a treatment facility in Weymouth is taking over a sober house in Quincy in an effort to “legitimize” the unregulated housing facilities that require no permitting or oversight by the state. (Patriot Ledger)

TRANSPORTATION

Plans to switch to open tolling along portions of the Massachusetts Turnpike could boost efforts to have the state switch to “EZ-ID” license plates, which include fewer numbers and letters but include a symbol — like a star or triangle — that proponents say is easier to read and remember. (Boston Herald)

Last week’s commuter rail derailment in Andover raises safety concerns. (Eagle-Tribune)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Federal regulators have extended the deadline for officials from Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire to file opposition to Entergy’s plan to tap Vermont Yankee decommissioning trust fund for spent fuel management. Massachusetts officials are concerned it will set a precedent for when the Pilgrim plant in Plymouth shuts down in 2019. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The New York Times examines the ethical implications for Rolling Stone magazine stemming from the stunning interview of Mexican drug cartel baron Joaquin Guzman Loera by actor Sean Penn before the fugitive known as “El Chapo” was arrested on Friday.

WBUR’s Bruce Gellerman examines the case of Darrell (Diamond) Jones, who claims he is innocent in the murder for which he has already spent 30 years in prison.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he plans to bring college courses back to some state prisons. (Governing)

Gary Spring, a former professor at Merrimack College, is sentenced to two years in federal prison for possession of child pornography. (Salem News)

For the first time in generations, criminal cases in Plymouth Superior Court are being heard in the Plymouth courthouse, relieving some of the burden from the overcrowded Brockton courthouse. (The Enterprise)

MEDIA

House Speaker Robert DeLeo demands an apology from the Boston Globe, which last week likened his leadership style to a plantation overseer. (State House News)

Actress Rachel McAdams brings Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer as her date to the Golden Globes. McAdams portrayed Pfeiffer in the movie Spotlight. (Boston.com)

PASSINGS

Rock icon David Bowie died from cancer Sunday, two days after his last album was released on his 69th birthday. (New York Times)