EFE Continues Press For Wage Cuts

MIAMI, Jan. 25, 2013  — EFE News Services continued its press for wage cuts as bargaining resumed this week, saying the Madrid-based news organization is in a financial “crisis” which requires sacrifice.

The Guild has requested books and records to support economic necessity and the Company agreed to quickly assemble information for the Union’s review. The Guild represents U.S. editorial and administrative employees.

In December, EFE proposed a ten-percent wage reduction in addition to cuts to the 401(k) plan and reductions in the cost of medical insurance. On Thursday, EFE explained that its proposals were aimed at reaching an overall,  worldwide  15% reduction in operating expenses, but clarified that figure includes savings from staff attrition and  other areas.

The Guild encouraged EFE to remember that U.S. employees have lived without wage increases since 2008, while also demonstrating flexibility in the production of video, audio, and multimedia content. “We continue to press EFE for the best possible terms for its hard working and professional staff, while being mindful it is in our and journalism’s best interests that the company remain competitive,” said Winston Rodríguez, a member of the Guild’s negotiating team.

On Thursday, EFE insisted that employees pay a share of the medical premium cost.

The Guild and EFE initialed ten contract articles, of which nine had earlier been agreed to.

Talks will resume Feb. 19th in Washington DC.

Representing the Guild were Rodríguez, rank-and-file negotiators Jorge Bañales and Sonia Osorio; Tony Winton, the union’s chief negotiator, and Kevin Keane, NMG administrator.

Representing EFE were Ignacio Sanz, EFE’s general manager, Laureano Garcia, high commissioner of the presidency of EFE for business in the United States of America, José Manuel Sanz, vice president, EFE News Services, and attorney Arturo Ross.