Washington NMG members surprise AP managers outside restaurant

NEWS MEDIA GUILD SURPRISES AP MANAGERS OUTSIDE WASHINGTON RESTAURANT

By Michele Salcedo

WASHINGTON — Never underestimate the element of surprise.

A small but vocal group of News Media Guild members from The Associated Press Washington Bureau were on hand Tuesday evening to greet AP management and Guild colleagues attending a dinner that AP organized to coincide with the ASNE-APME-APPM conference in Washington.

The Guild group, holding up signs and handing out leaflets, met Executive Editor and Senior Vice President Sally Buzbee, as well as Managing Editor Brian Carovillano and Deputy Managing Editors David Scott and Sarah Nordgren as they approached the Lebanese Taverna restaurant. Carovillano, Scott and Nordgren have attended some of the negotiations.

“We’re so surprised to see you here,” said Ken Guggenheim, a Washington bureau news editor.

As the time for the dinner approached, the group of seven chanted: “Who are we? We are AP! What do we want? A fair contract!” one of several in their battery. The red-shirted activists included science writer Seth Borenstein, general desk editor Will Lester, data journalist Chad Day, daybook editor Lisa Dwyer-Shapiro, photographer Alex Brandon, intelligence reporter Deb Riechmann, and Guild national mobilizer Michele Salcedo, on leave from the Washington general news desk. Joining them was Sally Davidow from the CWA national office, the NMG’s parent union.

Nearly a dozen Guild members who had been invited to Tuesday’s dinner were pleasantly surprised to find their colleagues outside.

“I am so glad to see you all out here,” said Errin Haines Whack, a member of The AP’s race and ethnicity reporting team.

Washington Guild members handed her and other reporters stickers identifying themselves as a “Proud Union Journalist” as the invitees walked into the restaurant. Aside from Haines Whack, they included State Department reporter Josh Lederman and Congressional Correspondent Erica Werner.

New Guild member Chad Day, who joined in August, handed managers and even passers-by fliers that outlined the Guild’s objections to some of AP’s contract proposals so far. Among the public that stopped to chat were two former AP employees.

“We are proud to stand in solidarity with our negotiators and were able to convey that important message to the highest levels of AP management,” Salcedo said.

Other managers who took the fliers from the Guild members included: Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace, Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Kathleen Hennessey, News Editor Ken Guggenheim.