BARGAINING: Discussion of job security stalls

The News Media Guild and Associated Press will resume talks next month on health insurance, wages and benefits after negotiations on job security stalled out Thursday.

Both sides are in agreement for nearly all of the proposed job security language for the editorial and technology units, which is attached here, but one sticking point remains. The Guild wants more protection for employees who choose to change departments (or organizational units, to use proposed contract language.) AP wants to institute a five-year lookback rule, meaning that an employee who moves from one department to another would retain professional subject matter competence in the first unit for five years. That would make it much easier for the employee to bump a less-senior employee in a different organizational unit.

If it’s been more than five years, a senior employee could still have the opportunity to exercise seniority rights in a different organizational unit, but he or she would have to demonstrate their professional competence and it would be subject to a manager’s discretion.

The Guild’s negotiating team has told the AP for months that five years is too short of a period but on Thursday, AP said it was done negotiating the language. The Guild bargainers oppose the company’s proposal as written, but it wants feedback from members on whether it is acceptable. If it’s not, employees must make that clear to the company.

Bargaining will resume Nov. 28.

Representing the Guild were Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Dave Herron of Seattle and administrator Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were Jessica Bruce, senior vice president for human resources and corporate communications; Sue Gilkey, global director of employee benefits; and Steve Macri, AP’s attorney.