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BARGAINING: AP makes wage offer, increases parental leave to 4 weeks

The Associated Press on Wednesday introduced wage proposals and an increase in the amount of paid leave available to all parents after the birth or adoption of a child.

In bargaining with the News Media Guild, the AP proposed the following wage increases: a $1,000 bonus upon ratification of the contract; a 1.5 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2019; and a 1.5 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2020. There would be no pay raise in 2018.

The Guild has proposed 5 percent increases annually over the next three years.

The company also proposed the following changes to AP’s sick and parental leave, saying that the Guild’s arguments calling for more family-friendly policies were impassioned and persuasive:

  • Allowing employees to use their sick days to care for ill children or family members, including spouses or anyone covered by the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Increasing the amount of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers from one week to four weeks. Additionally, the company said employees could use their 12 annual sick days on top of that, as well as vacation days.
  • A woman who gives birth would still receive eight weeks paid in short-term disability, plus the four weeks of paid parental leave, plus her 12 sick days and any vacation time, if she chooses to use them.

Currently, all employees receive one week of paid parental leave and cannot use sick days during parental leave. The AP said its proposal was contingent on leaving the current levels of vacation, holidays and personal days unchanged.

Representing the Guild were: Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Ed Morsett of Denver and Guild administrator Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were: Alison Quan, director of human resources, technology and business operations; Hilda Auguste, human resources manager; Jessica Bruce, senior vice president for human resources and corporate communications; Steve Macri, AP’s attorney; Brian Carovillano, managing editor; Jean Maye, human resources director; Ellen Fegan, vice president for internal audit; and Keisa Caesar, human resources generalist and project manager.

Bargaining resumes Thursday, when both sides plan to discuss health insurance.