THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Globe union investigates its president

‘I look forward to respond- ing to this matter at the appropriate time in the appropriate forum,’ Daniel Totten said in a note to union members. ‘I look forward to respond- ing to this matter at the appropriate time in the appropriate forum,’ Daniel Totten said in a note to union members.
By Robert Gavin
Globe Staff / September 25, 2009

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The executive committee of The Boston Globe’s largest union said it is conducting an audit and preparing charges against its president, Daniel Totten, and has both canceled his credit card and suspended his check-signing authority.

In a letter e-mailed to members yesterday, the Boston Newspaper Guild’s executive committee said Totten appears to have violated the union’s constitution “regarding financial matters involving local funds.’’ The letter was not more specific, and union officials declined to comment on the precise nature of the allegations.

In an e-mail to the union’s governing board, Totten said, “I look forward to responding to this matter at the appropriate time in the appropriate forum.’’ He added that all “union funds remain and always have been intact.’’

First elected in 2005, Totten has come under criticism from some members for his handling of negotiations over major concessions demanded earlier this year by the Globe’s owner, The New York Times Co., and for what some have called his sporadic communication with rank-and-file members. A group of members recently launched a recall petition to remove him and other union officials from office.

The guild represents more than 600 editorial, advertising, and business office workers.

The allegation of a rule violation with regard to union funds first came to the attention of the executive committee at a meeting last Friday. The matter was initiated by Treasurer Patrice Sneyd, Totten said in his note.

The executive committee said in its letter that an audit is underway. The committee said it was also drafting specific charges against Totten, according to the constitution of the Communications Workers of America, the Newspaper Guild’s parent union. The charges will be provided to members once they are formally filed with the union, and Totten will have the opportunity to answer the charges before or during a union trial, the committee said.

The union president’s job was traditionally a part-time position, but in late 2005 the union’s governing board made it full time. Totten earns about $98,000 a year, according to the Guild’s most recent filing with the US Labor Department.

Robert Gavin can be reached at rgavin@globe.com.