AP transfer proposal could be costly to staffers

Several Associated Press employees who have transferred jobs in the past three years incurred relocation expenses that are far higher than the maximum $11,000 that the AP is now proposing in its transfers proposal.  That’s according to data requested by the News Media Guild after the AP introduced a proposal this week that would give relocating employees a lump sum, not reimbursement for actual expenses.

The company proposal calls for a $5,000 lump sum payment for an employee who is relocating. An employee could receive an additional $2,000 if he or she has a spouse who’s relocating, another $2,000 if he or she has a child or children and another $2,000 if the move is 2,000 miles or more. The maximum reimbursement would be $11,000.

The Guild has proposed leaving the transfers language unchanged so employees are reimbursed for the actual costs incurred while moving to a new location for the AP.

The AP provided the Guild information on 52 employee transfers from 2014 to 2017. Of those, 24 employees claimed zero relocation costs because the move was for personal reasons. For the 28 moves where costs were reported, AP reimbursed anywhere from $395 to more than $44,000.

Twelve of those employees reported relocation costs of $10,000 or higher, and five of those people had costs above $20,000. Those 12 all would have lost money had AP’s new transfers proposal been in place.

Guild bargainers return home this weekend and negotiations with the AP will resume the week of Sept. 18.