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BARGAINING: AP revises health insurance proposal

The Associated Press introduced a revised health insurance proposal Thursday that would hit News Media Guild members with hefty premium increases through 2021.

The company said it made a “major economic revision” by phasing in the increases over three years, and by agreeing to no increases in 2018 and no retroactive increases for 2017. But Guild negotiators believe proposed increases are far too high, especially considering the paltry pay raises offered by the AP.

Click here to see the company’s new proposal.

Bargaining unit employees can figure out their own premium increases by using the calculator linked below. (A hearty thanks to Guild member Justin Myers in Chicago, who created it.)  Members are encouraged to share the link to the calculator on social media.

http://test.ac0ev.us/nmg-calc-2018/

For many employees, the premium increase alone would exceed the pay increases offered by the company. That’s before you factor in the increased deductible, out of pocket maximum and decrease in coinsurance that the company wants to implement.

Under the AP proposal, insurance premiums would stay unchanged in 2018. In 2019, they would increase by 30 percent, followed by another 25 percent increase in 2020 and another 15 percent increase in 2021.

That means an employee plus family premium medical plan would go from $409 per month in 2018 to $764 per month in 2021 _ an increase of $355 per month.

AP said that management employees already pay 20 percent of their overall health costs, but Guild members currently pay 13 percent. The AP said that health care costs are rising and that Guild members need to pay a greater share of their health costs.

Representing the Guild were Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Dave Herron of Seattle and Guild administrator Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were: Hilda Auguste, human resources manager; Sue Gilkey, global director of employee benefits; Steve Macri, AP’s attorney; David Scott, deputy managing editor; Jean Maye, human resources director; and Ellen Fegan, vice president for internal audit.

Bargaining resumes Friday.