EFE Talks Focus on Late, Long Hours

WASHINGTON — The News Media Guild and the EFE News Service traded proposals on Tuesday over additional payments for staffers working night shifts. The company and the union also discussed additional compensation for employees required to work long weekend shifts. The union is seeking to close the gap with employees represented by Spanish labor unions, who have benefited from these additional payments for decades.

In its revised proposal, the Guild’s plan would mean that any worker required to work past 6 p.m. would receive an additional payment of 4% for the entire shift. Under the Guild’s proposal, EFE would seek to recruit new employees who would volunteer for evening work. If volunteers could not be found, employees could be assigned for 1-month rotating stints on the night shift. While on the night shift, workers would be scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays off.

EFE’s proposal differs in several respects. The company proposed that Washington, D.C. workers on the 4 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. shift get a 4% differential, but that workers outside Washington not receive any extra payment for night work. EFE’s proposal would also call for volunteers for night work, but if volunteers could not be found, workers could be assigned for 2 month rotations of on the night shift. While working the night shift, workers would be scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays off.

The Guild told the company that treating employees in different cities differently made no sense and was unfair.

In a related proposal, the Guild and the company discussed the current “weekend” rotation in Washington. The Guild is proposing a 10% differential for any employee required to work a weekend. EFE rejected the Guild’s proposal, but said it expected to make a counter-proposal that would increase compensatory time off.

The Guild also asked EFE about rumors concerning a possible changes to its U.S. operations. EFE said while a new vice president would be named shortly for the U.S., it said it had no information about major changes for the company’s U.S. bureaus.

Talks will resume Wednesday.

Representing the Guild were Tony Winton, NMG President, Jorge Bañales, unit chair, and negotiators Teresa Bouza and Winston Rodríguez.
Representing EFE were María Luisa Azpiazu, EFE Vice President, and attorney Rudy Gómez.