Guardian-US staff unanimously approves 1st contract

Guardian-US staff voted unanimously to approve their first contract, which includes pay raises, paternity leave of 10 weeks for a birth or adoption and employer payment of the full cost of health insurance for a worker.

The editorial employees working in New York, Washington and San Francisco approved the contract last week. They voted unanimously in July 2015 to have the News Media Guild as their bargaining agent.

“I commend The Guardian for reaching a fair contract with our members that embraces its values,” said Amanda Holpuch, a Guardian Guild-covered staffer and member of the bargaining team. “We are proud to have been backed by an engaged, energetic staff who supported the negotiation team.”

Under the proposed contract, wages will increase 1.5 percent on Jan. 1, 2018, 1.75 percent on Jan. 1, 2019 and 2 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. However, if the cost of living exceeds those amounts, the increases will be adjusted to meet the actual cost of living.

The top-scale pay for general assignment reporters is now $65,000, which would increase to $68,400 in January 2020. The top scale pay for a section head and a senior reporter would move from $95,000 to $100,000.

The agreement contains job security terms requiring “just cause” for termination and that seniority will prevail in cases of staff reductions when an employee has the needed skills and ability to perform the job. Severance pay for staff reductions are based on length of service that range from no less than five weeks’ pay to no more than 50 weeks. For the first three months after the termination, the Company will make the same contribution to medical and dental insurance for any employee and dependent coverage the employee is enrolled in at the leave date.

Differences over the contract’s provisions are subject to a grievance procedure which includes the possible arbitration of disputes.

Employees’ annual vacation will be 25 days, which increases to 28 days after five years of service. Work on any of the 10 holidays will be paid at time and one-half in addition to the employee’s workweek.

Parental leave for maternity, adoption and paternity of 10 weeks at full pay will be granted upon request to employees who are expecting or give birth or are newly matched for the adoption of a child for which they will be a primary caregiver, provided they have one year or more of continuous service at the date the parental leave commences.

The Guardian will continue to pay the full premium for its employees’ health insurance. If the cost of the two-person and family plan members increase, the company will absorb the first 10 percent of the additional cost. The company will continue to contribute 4 percent to employees’ 401(k) accounts each pay period which new employees can enroll in after 60 days of service.

Training will be provided when employees are assigned to new posts, when they use new technology and when jobs are altered significantly. Refresher courses in those areas will be made available on a regular basis.

Overtime eligible employees are entitled to premium pay after forty hour of work a week while ineligible will receive compensatory time off. Sick days will be counted as time worked.

The agreement also includes terms for sick leave, transfers and promotions, non-discrimination, leaves of absences, expenses, the use of social media and a fair share representation fee.