BARGAINING: Guild advances counter-proposals on wages, health care

The News Media Guild on Wednesday introduced a revised wages proposal that calls for four consecutive annual raises, beginning in 2018 through 2021.

The Guild bargaining committee told The Associated Press that its members must have a contract that leaves them better off economically, not worse. The AP said it intends to introduce its own revised wages proposal Thursday.

The Guild counter-proposal calls for a 4 percent salary increase upon ratification of the contract with the raise retroactive to the date of the agreement. The proposal also calls for 3.5 percent increases on June 1, 2019; June 1, 2020; and June 1, 2021.

The union’s health insurance counter-proposal calls for no increase in health and dental premiums in 2018, followed by annual 8 percent premium increases in 2019, in 2020 and 2021. It also includes changes previously proposed in an earlier Guild counter-proposal:

  • Increase the individual deductible to $500 from $400 and the family deductible to $1,000 from $800.
  • Increase out-of-pocket maximum for in-network service from $1,900 to $2,400 for individuals and $3,800 to $4,800 for families for in-network services.
  • Eliminate the coverage of compounded prescription drugs and to move the prescription drug coverage to a national preferred formulary.

Also Wednesday, the AP gave the Guild an updated proposal on which positions should be excluded from Guild coverage. The Guild team is reviewing the proposal.

Bargaining will resume Thursday.

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

Representing the AP were Jessica Bruce, senior vice president for human resources and corporate communications; David Scott, deputy managing editor; and attorney Steve Macri.