Guild, AP open negotiations

BARGAINING BULLETIN NO.  1

Bargainers with the News Media Guild and The Associated Press opened talks Tuesday in New York to negotiate a new contract for the Guild’s editorial and technology units. The current contract expires Sept. 30.

Guild negotiators told the AP that job security, wages, health insurance and better training are of paramount importance in the next contract. The Guild also said it was committed to improving parental leave for AP employees. It also pressed AP to get its important proposals on the table now. The company said it will get its proposals on the table within two to three weeks.

The Guild told AP that it proposes to leave some items in the contract unchanged, including articles on severance, grievances, individual bargaining and health and safety. AP is to respond.

The company said AP employees are the news cooperative’s greatest asset but that the company must be flexible and nimble to adjust to declining revenue streams. The company said “cost management” must be part of the discussions, too.

Representing the Guild at the table were Jill Bleed of the Little Rock bureau; Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports; Ed Morsett, a technician in Denver; and Guild administrative officer Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were AP’s attorney, Steve Macri; Jessica Bruce, senior vice president for human resources and corporate communications; Sue Gilkey, global director of employee benefits; David Scott, deputy managing editor; Alison Quan, director of human resources, technology and business operations: Keisa Caesar, human resources generalist and project manager; Hilda Auguste, human resources manager; and Jean Maye, human resources director.

Talks resume Wednesday.