Guild makes revised proposal on news associates

The News Media Guild revised a proposal that would allow The Associated Press to establish a new classification of news associates, including language that improves the job security of newspeople and editorial assistants.

The Guild proposed language that says no newspeople or EA positions could be eliminated within a region where a news associate remains employed. The Guild also proposed that news associates’ work be limited to their region and that they receive overtime when they work more than eight hours in a nine-hour day.

In addition, they would receive no penalty pay except when their schedule is changed within the work week.

Other Guild proposals for contract language for news associates included that they would be recalled for their jobs after two years, at which point they would receive a newsperson’s second-year salary. But that’s the highest salary a news associate could earn.

News associates’ work would be limited to member pickups (also known as shared news), calendars, member exchanges and editorial roundups, along with some photo work, including the selection, captioning and transmission of member photo pickups, either to an AP photo desk or a directly to AP members and customers.

The Guild proposal would prevent the AP from using news associates to reduce or deny the overtime opportunities of newspersons or EAs.

The Guild also introduced a new Guild Security proposal. Where legally permissible, it would require all employees to pay union dues or a fair share agency fee payment to help the union’s collective bargaining and contract enforcement efforts. It would also require that new hires pay union membership dues as union members or to pay a fair share agency fee.

Tentative agreement was reached to continue the side letters on life insurance, short-term disability and lock boxes.

The Guild was represented by President Martha Waggoner of Raleigh, Secretary-Treasurer John Braunreiter of Milwaukee, Stephanie Nano of the New York health and science desk and Guild administrator Kevin Keane.

Nano is filling in as an interim negotiator because photographer Don Ryan of Portland, Ore., who had to temporarily step down for personal reasons.