We got good news Thursday from The Associated Press -- its estimated pension debt has dropped from $223 million in 2013 to an estimated $37.6 million.
A $7.6 million payment in 2013 and a $110 million payment this year, which included the proceeds from AP's sale of Stats Inc., significantly reduced the interest due on future payments.
AP also shaved three years off the time in which it will even have a pension debt. By 2019, The AP estimates it will owe $342,000 to pay off the pension debt.
"It's wonderful to see that The AP has taken steps to pay down the pension and is no longer operating with such a huge debt," News Media Guild President Martha Waggoner said. "We certainly hope the AP decides it can now be more generous with the Guild-covered staff."
The Guild and the AP are in their 15th month of bargaining. Bargainers for the Guild and AP met Wednesday and Thursday in off-the-record sessions and will resume bargaining Sept. 23 and Sept. 24.