BARGAINING: Guild, AP discuss technology unit job security

Bargaining resumed Tuesday between the News Media Guild and The Associated Press, with the AP introducing a counter-proposal on job security for the technology unit.

The proposal largely tracks changes previously introduced for the editorial unit. It would assign technology employees into one of the following organizational units: Customer Support, Global Help Desk and US Field Operations. Layoffs would occur within the organizational units. Under the AP proposal, a senior employee could exercise seniority rights in a different organizational unit if he or she has the qualifications and skills to do the new work.

Now, many technology employees who work in Customer Support or the Global Help Desk are not bound by geography or to a bureau. The Guild has proposed that seniority be measured within “virtual groups” of Customer Support and Global Help Desk, and the AP said Tuesday that it is open to the concept.

The AP proposal would also increase severance pay by up to 12 extra weeks if a technology employee is the only person in their organizational unit in their business location.

The Guild has requested a list of how current technology employees would be assigned into organizational units, and will pass it along to members once it’s received.

Representing the Guild were Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Ed Morsett of Denver and administrator Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were senior vice president Jessica Bruce and attorney Steve Macri.

Bargaining resumes Wednesday.