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AP contracts ratified by Editorial Unit, Technology Unit

Members of the News Media Guild’s editorial and technology units have ratified a new, three-year contract with The Associated Press.

The secret-ballot votes were tallied Monday by the Guild’s elections committee. About 83 percent of ballots were in support of the tentative agreement, which was reached in late January after more than a year of bargaining.

The new contract, which replaces an agreement that expired in September 2017, includes three salary increases and three one-time payments. The new contract will quadruple the amount of paid parental leave for fathers and adoptive parents and also allow employees to use sick leave to care for ill family members, including children, spouses and parents.

The deal calls for a $750 lump sum payment upon ratification. It also calls for a 2 percent raise on July 1, 2019; a $250 lump sum on Jan. 1, 2020; a 1.75 percent raise on July 1, 2020; a $250 lump sum on Jan. 1, 2021; and a 1.75 percent raise on July 1, 2021.

The contract also calls for for annual 20 percent increases in monthly health insurance premiums for the top-tier health plan. It calls for annual 15 percent increases to the basic health plan and the introduction of an optional high deductible health plan next year.

AP also agreed to the Guild’s proposal to add insurance coverage for applied behavioral analysis therapy, a commonly prescribed treatment for children with autism.

Rank-and-file Guild negotiators met with the AP bargaining team more than 50 times in New York City over a nearly 18-month period. The Guild was represented at negotiations by Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Dave Herron of Seattle, technician Ed Morsett of Denver, and Guild administrator Kevin Keane.