AP proposes onerous, intrusive car reimbursement scheme

The Associated Press has just advanced contract language requiring Guild-covered staffers to make their personal vehicle available for business use at any time the company wishes and to sign affidavits in which they’d have to disclose  private information unrelated to doing their job.

Employees who declined to sign the “voluntary” vehicle-use agreement, or who did sign it but later failed to notify their manager of any changes in their circumstances within two business days, would not be eligible for reimbursement for business mileage or other costs of using their auto.

The proposal would take away auto use fees that staffers currently receive when they are on an out-of-town assignment, on vacation, on leave, absent or otherwise not working for the AP for more than seven straight days.

The agreement would be irrevocable for one year, after which the employee could get out of it only after providing six months’ written notice.

Employees would have to inform their manager, in writing, at least two business days before any seven-day period in which their vehicle wouldn’t be available for AP’s use.

Staffers would have to provide the AP with their car’s make, model and year and the license plate info. They’d also be required to attest in writing that they have a valid, unrestricted license and that the car is properly registered and insured. They’d have to submit a copy of their driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance card, along with info on the level of their insurance coverage.

Guild-staffers now voluntarily provide use of their autos in exchange for reimbursement at IRS rates for mileage, as well as reimbursement for tolls and parking fees, but this auto use is granted at the staffer’s discretion. Some employees may share cars with household members some days or may not want to drive a gas-guzzling car or an older one with high mileage long distances for the AP.

The company cannot impose the changes it’s seeking while the bargaining, which began in late July, continues. The two sides remain far apart, as the AP continues to make proposals that would slash staffers’ standard of living and intrude into their personal lives.