Category Archives: Benefits

This category is for discounts and programs for NMG members

Reminder about backup care!

A reminder from TNG President Jill Zeman Bleed: AP employees are entitled to 20 days of backup care each year, at a cost of $20/day per child. Availability will vary by region, but check out this resource as we navigate the next few summer months.

Here is information provided by Bright Horizons on back-up care in a recent email:

Trying to figure out child care plans when your regular sitter’s unavailable? Or is the local summer camp you signed up for no longer an option? Rely on Bright Horizons Back-Up Care. Reserve care at a nearby center, with many in our network currently available for back-up care and more reopening throughout the summer. With health and safety being our top priority, we’ve developed best-practice COVID-19 protocols, including small group sizes and intensive hygiene and cleaning practices. Watch a video to learn more.

Individualized in-home care is also available from our extensive network of high-quality providers expected to comply with specific health and safety guidelines, including daily health checks. Learn more here.

REGISTER AND RESERVE CARE  >

To register, click on “Not signed up yet? Register Now.”

Employer Username: AP | Password:  APbackup

 

We keep AP working

BARGAINING: Guild, AP discuss autism coverage, temp employees, coverage

The News Media Guild on Thursday urged The Associated Press to offer health insurance coverage for a commonly prescribed therapy for children with autism.

AP health insurance currently doesn’t cover applied behavioral analysis, which is an intensive and effective therapy in some cases of autism. The therapy itself is costly so many people cannot afford the treatment without insurance or some other assistance.

AP’s health insurance plan is self-funded, meaning the company decides what’s covered and what isn’t. The Guild is urging AP to add the ABA coverage to its health insurance plans because it can be done without a significant increase in premiums, according to research from Autism Speaks.

“This is a benefit that only a small number of our members need, but adding the coverage could be life-changing for their children and families,” News Media Guild President Jill Bleed said.

Mike Wasmer, the director of state government affairs for Autism Speaks, told the AP that about 45 percent of companies with more than 500 employees currently provide ABA coverage. The federal government also provides ABA coverage to its workers, as do 48 states to their public employees.

AP’s negotiating team said it was willing to explore the issue.

In other business, both sides reached a tentative agreement on the technology unit coverage article. The company also introduced changes to the temporary employees article, saying that some grant-funded positions should be longer than the nine-month limit for temporaries currently permitted in the contract. The Guild said it was open to a longer period for the grant-funded jobs, which are part of the bargaining unit.

Bargaining will resume Jan. 8.

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

Representing the AP were: Jessica Bruce, senior vice president for human resources and corporate communications; Ellen Fegan, vice president for internal audit; Sue Gilkey, global director of employee benefits; Alison Quan, director of human resources, technology and business operations; David Scott, deputy managing editor; and Steve Macri, AP’s attorney.

News Media Guild Scholarship Winners Announced

By Michele Salcedo

One is finishing a master’s degree in business administration to continue working in youth development. Another has a passion for plant biology as a means to unlock the healing properties of herbs. A third sees a future in engineering, as her father did before her.

All three will have financial help to pursue their educational interests from family members who are members of the News Media Guild through the Guild’s scholarship lottery.

Meet this year’s winners:

Jonathan Cooper, a California statehouse reporter, will receive $2,000 on behalf of his wife, Jenna Cooper. She is pursuing a masters of business administration at North Park University with a goal of leading a nonprofit group that offers youth development programs. Jenna Cooper currently oversees camping and adventuring program for the Girl Scouts in the Sacramento and Central Valley area. She expects to receive her MBA from North Park University in Chicago in December 2019.

“We’re super excited to get the scholarship,” Jonathan Cooper said in a phone interview. “We’ve been paying out of pocket for her master’s degree, and for the Guild to come thru and help us out with that is a huge help to our family.”

Cleveland-based photographer Anthony Dejak says he’s applied at least 10 times for a Guild scholarship over the years, as each of his three children went through college. He won $2,000 this year for his youngest child, Danielle, who has one semester left in the plant biology program at Ohio University. Dejak says Danielle is interested in using herbs to create therapeutic treatments.

Pennsylvania statehouse reporter Mark Scolforo didn’t tell his niece Shannon that he was applying on her behalf for the $1,000 wild-card scholarship. She’s in her last year of the University of Florida’s engineering program, a career her father pursued before her. “She’s pretty tickled about the whole thing.” Scolforo said. “She had no idea I put her in, so it was out of the blue.”

The News Media Guild awards the three scholarships every year by lottery to members in good standing. The two $2,000 awards are available for Guild members and their spouses, children, grandchildren, parents or other members of their immediate households. The wild card scholarship is available to Guild members’ relatives, friends or co-workers who are not members of their household.

The awards are made each year in memory of Patrick J. Sherlock, a late president of the Wire Service Guild, the forerunner of the News Media Guild. Sherlock had been an Associated Press writer and editor in Concord, N.H.; Portland and Augusta, Maine; and the General Desk in New York.

We keep AP working

BARGAINING: AP would save nearly $1.5 million under its health insurance proposal

The Associated Press told the News Media Guild on Thursday that the company would save nearly $1.5 million with its opening health insurance proposal, which would hike Guild-covered employee contributions to premiums by 53 percent next year, increase deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums and increase employees’ coinsurance in the premium plan.

The News Media Guild requested the information from the company as the union formulates a counter-proposal to the company’s plan.

Under AP’s proposal, the annual increase in employees’ contributions for premiums range from $636 more next year for an employee-only premium plan to $2,592 more next year for an employee plus family premium plan.

The AP said its proposal would result in the following savings to the company:

  • Increasing deductibles by $100 for individuals and $200 for families: a savings of $40,763
  • Increasing out-of-pocket maximums by $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families: a savings of $106,338
  • Decreasing the coinsurance paid under the premium plan from 85 percent to 80 percent: a savings of $55,469
  • Eliminating the coverage of compound prescription drugs: a savings of $70,783
  • Moving the prescription drug coverage to a national preferred formulary: a savings of $240,653
  • Increasing employee contributions to medical insurance premiums by 53 percent: a savings of $879,302
  • Increasing employee contributions to dental insurance premiums by about 60 percent: a savings of $87,781

The AP said it wants employees to pay a greater share of their health care costs. In 2016, employees contributed $2.2 million for the medical plan while the AP contributed $13.6 million. For the dental plan, employees contributed $185,000 last year while the AP contributed $661,000.

AP is also proposing that the Guild’s editorial and technology units frozen pension plans be merged with the administrative employees plan saving it $700,000.

Representing the Guild at the table were: Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Ed Morsett of Denver, Guild administrator Kevin Keane and the Guild’s health insurance consultant, Linda Gaal.

Representing the AP at the table were: Alison Quan, director of human resources, technology and business operations; Hilda Auguste, human resources manager; Sue Gilkey, global director of employee benefits; Steve Macri, AP’s attorney; Jean Maye, human resources director; Ellen Fegan, vice president for internal audit; and Keisa Caesar, human resources generalist and project manager.

Bargaining will resume Nov. 6 in Washington.

We keep AP working

BARGAINING: AP proposes steep increases in health care premiums

The Associated Press introduced a health-insurance proposal Tuesday that would increase employees’ monthly contributions for premiums for the medical plan next year by 52 percent while also increasing deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums and decreasing the premium plan coinsurance percentage paid by the plan.

 

The proposal would also eliminate the coverage of compounded prescription drugs, which the AP said are far costlier than the individual components of the drugs.

 

Under AP’s proposal, the annual increase in employees’ contributions for premiums range from $636 more next year for an employee-only premium plan to $2,592 more next year for an employee plus family premium plan. Read the full text of AP’s proposal.

 

Dental insurance would see even steeper increases under the AP proposal, with employee contributions rising by about 60 percent next year.

The AP did not provide exact numbers on premiums for beyond 2018. The contract expires Sept. 30.

 

The AP proposal also calls for:

  • Increasing the individual deductible to $500 from $400 and the family deductible to $1,000 from $800.
  • Increasing the out-of-pocket maximum for in-network service to $2,400 for individuals. It is now $1,900.
  • Increasing the out-of-pocket maximum for in-network service to $4,800 for families. It is now $3,800.
  • Decrease the coinsurance _ which is the amount the plan pays after a deductible is met _ from 85 to 80 percent on the premium plan.

The AP also introduced a proposal that would exempt U.S. employees covering international sporting events, like the Olympics or World Cup, from overtime and scheduling provisions of the contract. The AP also proposed allowing all employees _ not just solo correspondents or certain specialized reporters _ from willingly exempting themselves from scheduling requirements, if there is mutual agreement with management.

 

The company also proposed changing how it reimburses employees for moving and relocation expenses if they are transferred to another bureau. Now, the company reimburses the employee for specific costs. AP’s proposal would change that to a lump sum of $5,000, with higher amounts available if the employee is married, has a child or children or is moving more than 2,000 miles away. The maximum reimbursement would be $11,000.

 

Also Tuesday, the News Media Guild presented a proposal that would make employees eligible for more vacation days earlier in their tenure. Under the proposal, a new hire would be eligible for three weeks of vacation, instead of the current two, and employees who reach 15 years of service would be eligible for five weeks of vacation. Now, an employee must have 20 years of service before becoming eligible for five weeks of vacation.

 

The Guild introduced a proposal on holidays that would increase the number of personal days an employee receives each year to three from two, and add the day after Thanksgiving as an AP holiday.

 

Also Tuesday, the Guild introduced proposed changes to the news associates program. The Guild is proposing that those positions no longer be fixed terms of two years, and the Guild also seeks the removal of restrictions that now prevent news associates from receiving raises during their tenure or applying for other AP positions.

The Guild also advanced proposals on

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 Alison Quan, director of human resources, technology and business operations; Hilda Auguste, human resources manager; Keisa Caesar, human resources generalist and project manager; Sue Gilkey; global director of employee benefits; Jean Maye, human resources director; AP’s attorney Steve Macri; David Scott, deputy managing editor; and Ellen Fegan, vice president for internal audit.

Bargaining resumes Wednesday.