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BARGAINING: Guild, AP open talks for new contract

Bargainers with the News Media Guild and The Associated Press opened talks Thursday on a new contract for the Guild’s editorial and technology units. The current contract expires June 30.

The Guild and the AP agreed to leave some items in the contract unchanged, including articles on Arbitration (Article 5), Individual Bargaining (Article 14), Military Service (Article 24) and Severability (Article 32) for both units, and General Wage Provisions (Article 13, concerning credit for classifications and experience) for the editorial unit.

The Guild suggested language cleanup on payroll information and grievance procedure, and advanced proposals on coverage, union security, normal work and advancement opportunities.

The AP rejected the proposal on coverage that modified current language that prevents farming out of bargaining unit work to result in the numerical reductions of the unit overall and tying it to business locations. The company said it has no goal or objective to reduce staff or the type of work that is to be performed.

The AP also rejected the proposal on union security to require employees to pay union dues or representation fees to the guild as a condition of employment.

The AP said it will discuss the proposal on normal work that says when new duties are added there must be a corresponding reduction of existing work or a prioritization specified upon request. The AP also did not respond to the proposal on advancement opportunities concerning career development.

Representing the Guild at were Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports; Michelle Monroe, a newsperson on the West Desk; John Braunreiter, a customer support specialist in Milwaukee; Guild administrative officer Kevin Keane; and Guild staff representative Luis Espinosa-Organista.

Representing the AP were attorney, Steve Macri; Teresita Seeberger, senior director of global human resources; David Scott, vice president of news strategy and operations; Keisa Caesar, human resources manager; and Jean Maye, human resources director.

Talks will resume June 13.

Remenbering Ken Freed

By Adolphe Bernotas

Ken Freed was a friend and passionate union compatriot.

I got to know Ken during the 1970s when we served as members of Wire Service Guild-AP contract negotiating committees. At the time, Ken and the late Barry Schweid (also a Guild leader) had been key Washington AP diplomatic staffers who traveled around the world with Henry Kissinger.

Shirley Christian’s Connecting item on Ken’s death recalls that he claimed to have invented the phrase “shuttle diplomacy.” I had not heard that from him, but I was in the room when Ken coined the Wire Service Guild slogan “I’m a bricklayer!”

During those talks, which included the late Alexander “Sandy” Higgins, a company executive suggested that as journalists we were not blue-collar workers, but along with management, members of the lofty Fourth Estate fraternity doing heavenly work to protect the peoples’ right to know, toiling to preserve a free press, we the priests of the First Amendment, yada, yada, yada …. I’m sure I heard choirs of seraphim in the clouds above the Sixth Avenue hotel where the talks were held.

The AP exec concluded: “You are professionals, not bricklayers!”

Ken, of quick wit and riposte, replied, “I’m a bricklayer!” Guild leaders used his phrase for years.

Apropos of describing himself a bricklayer, Ken wrote his own eulogy in the third person, calling his vocation “The Trade.”

He wrote: “Ken did his best to make the bosses, the elites, the bigots and the self-righteous squirm” and that he “was forced out of the Associated Press after 15 years as a senior diplomatic correspondent because of his role in promoting a union and in suing the company for racial and gender discrimination.”

Ken and I served on the union’s Executive Committee, whose lawsuit opened AP to women and minorities.

After those talks, Ken left AP on a leave of absence (a benefit won by the union) for a year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where I would visit with him.

After his coveted Nieman fellowship was complete, Ken returned to AP-Washington and the company told him no more shuttle diplomacy flights for you; AP said he was needed on the overnight.

Ken left AP to become a Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent and journalism professor.

We would meet occasionally for dinner and drinks, the last time about six years ago in Baltimore before he and Sandy left for Ken’s beloved Omaha, his native city of which he was a fervent promoter and about which he wrote as a World-Herald staffer.

As I think of Ken, I remember the fine gift he left me. A lover of classical music – he had played double bass – Ken encouraged me to take a volunteer job as producer/anchor of an opera show at New Hampshire Public Radio, a priceless 10-year interlude in my life.

Thanks, Ken.

 

NMG Executive Committee and Representative Assembly begin new terms

The News Media Guild’s Executive Committee and Representative Assembly begin their new three-year terms on Monday.

 

Executive Committee

President:  Vin Cherwoo, New York

First Vice President:. John Braunreiter, Milwaukee

Secretary-Treasurer:  Amanda Holpuch, Guardian, New York

Second Vice President:  Michael Warren, Atlanta

Third Vice President:  Kim Kruesi, Nashville

 

Representative Assembly

Editorial Unit, Central: Noah Trister

EU New York City: Larry Fenn

EU East: Jimmy Golen

EU Photographers: Sue Ogrocki

EU South: Terry Spencer

EU Television: Joe Frederick

EU Washington: Darlene Superville

EU West: Michelle Monroe

Technology Unit: Ed Morsett

EFE News Service: Albert Traver

Guardian-US: Erum Salam

 

RA alternates

EU Central: Stephen Groves

EU East: Mike Rubinkam

EU West: Rachel La Corte

EU South: Freida Frisaro

APTV: Jeff Turner

EU New York, Dan Derella

EU Washington: Will Lester

Photos: Susan Walsh

TU: Elvis Cruz

EFE: Marc Arcas

Guardian: Tim Hill

 

Results of election for Executive Committee, Representative Assembly

An election was conducted for all seats on the News Media Guild’s Executive Committee (whose members shall also be jointly elected as TNG and CWA convention delegates) and the following seats on the Representative Assembly.

 

The following members have been elected without opposition:

Executive Committee and TNG Sector Conference/CWA Convention delegates. Three-year terms starting Feb. 22, 2021.

 

President and 1st delegate – Vin Cherwoo, New York

First Vice President and 2nd delegateJohn Braunreiter, Milwaukee

Secretary-Treasurer and 3rd delegate – Amanda Holpuch, Guardian, New York

Second Vice President and 4th delegate – Michael Warren, Atlanta

Third Vice President and 5th delegateKim Kruesi, Nashville

 

Representative Assembly. Three-year terms of office for both delegate and alternate, starting Feb. 22, 2021. The RA is divided into districts. You must work within a district to represent that district.

 

Editorial Unit, Central: Noah Trister, Detroit

EU New York City: Larry Fenn, Data Web Development

EU East: Jimmy Golen, Boston

EU Photographers: Sue Ogrocki, Oklahoma City

EU South: Terry Spencer, West Pam Beach

EU Television: Vacant

EU Washington: Darlene Superville

EU West: Michelle Monroe, Phoenix

Technology Unit: Ed Morsett, Phoenix

EFE News Service: Albert Traver, Washington

Guardian-US: Erum Salam, New York

 

The following members were elected as alternates:

TU: Elvis Cruz, New York

EFE: Marc Arcas, Los Angeles

EU New York, Dan Derella, Photos

EU Washington: Will Lester, Washington

 

Elections Committee