NMG says staff ‘disappointed’ with AP wage offer

The News Media Guild told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the staff found the company’s offer of a 2 percent pay raise “very disappointing,” especially when balanced against the AP’s proposals of a pension freeze and higher health insurance premiums.

“There’s a strong dislike for the $500 lump sum payments” bargainer Vin Cherwoo said, referring to the company’s proposal of two such payments during an 18-month contract. Employees would rather have the money as a pay raise because that affects benefits, Cherwoo said.

The company said it prefers the $500 payments because they provide better cash flow and they beat the wage cuts being suffered at newspapers. AP bargainers said they were trying to “make the best of a bad situation.” 

The AP also discussed the possible end of its internship program, saying it was difficult to commit to providing jobs for interns when other staffers have been laid off.  It said the Guild portion of the program costs $600,000 a year. But the company said it remains committed to diversity.

The Guild will respond Dec. 15 to the company’s proposal to freeze the pension. The union’s pension consultant will be at the table.

The two sides plan to discuss the Guild’s job security proposals Friday.

In addition to Cherwoo, those representing the Guild at the table were: Martha Waggoner, John Braunreiter, Don Ryan and Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were: Michelle Ehrlich, Sue Gilkey, Kristin Gazlay, Alison Quan, Hilda Auguste and attorney Steve Macri.