EFE Presented with New Guild Vacation Proposal

Bargaining Bulletin No. 3

MIAMI – The News Media Guild on Tuesday modified its proposal on vacations as bargaining continued with the EFE News Service for a new agreement.

The union’s new proposal seeks to improve vacation benefits, but at lower cost to the Employer than the union’s initial proposal.

Under the Guild’s proposal, vacation time would increase to 25 days for employees with ten year’s service, and prior service outside the U.S. would be counted in determining the amount of vacation. The current benefit is 15 days for employees with less than five years’ service and 22 days for employees with more than five years’ service.

The Guild and the company also discussed the way the employer handles prior EFE service outside the United States. The Guild is seeking language to clarify that when an employee starts working in the U.S., in addition to the vacation accrual, he or she should not be required to forfeit seniority, experience credit, or undergo a second probation period.

EFE said it would review the Guild’s proposals and respond at a later date.

The Guild discussed EFE’s proposal to reduce benefits for new parents and for pregnant women. The Guild said both benefits are very important to unit members. In Spain, new mothers get six months of paid leave. “We think new mothers in both the U.S. and Spain go through the same travails and we think the current benefits should remain intact,” said Jorge A. Bañales, the bargaining committee chairperson.

EFE said it would review its proposal in light of the Guild’s comments.

The Guild also discussed several elements of its proposal on working hours and schedules:

  • The union outlined its proposal to shorten the workweek to 35 hours, given the employer’s proposal to reduce some employee’s wages.
  • EFE agreed with the union that work and vacation schedules should be posted in English.
  • The Guild also discussed its proposal to protect employees when bad weather makes it unsafe to commute. The union wants the right for employees to work from home without losing pay when a government agency declares that travel is hazardous.

 

The Guild is still awaiting information from EFE about the company’s possible reorganization following a change in its Madrid-based management. EFE told the Guild in February that layoffs or transfers were possible. The Guild continues to press for more information so it can work to secure jobs.

EFE, the world’s largest Spanish-language news agency, is a taxpayer-supported state enterprise based in Madrid. The Guild represents U.S editorial and administrative employees in California, Florida, New York, and Washington.

The Guild and EFE have already reached tentative agreements on four contract articles: individual bargaining, severability, checkoff, and military service.

Bargaining will resume in early May. The current contract extension expires March 31.

Representing the Guild were Bañales, committee member Sonia Osorio, and NMG negotiator Tony Winton.

Representing EFE were José Manuel Sanz and attorney Rudy Gómez.