Guild presents counterproposal for technicians

The News Media Guild on Thursday presented the Associated Press with a counterproposal on the technicians’ contract that includes pay raises of 5 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent over three years.

The Guild proposed that the contract expire March 1, 2014, with the first 5 percent raise going into effect Dec. 1, 2010. Five percent would effective Dec. 1, 2011, and 6 percent on Dec. 1, 2012.

The union’s proposal calls for no increases in employee medical contributions for the life of the contract. It also says that all employees will be covered by a defined benefit plan.

The proposal also caps the maximum a tech can receive for various certifications at $175 a week.

The maximum amount now is $130, and the Guild originally proposed a $200 maximum. The company replied with a $140 maximum, leaving a difference of $35 weekly between the two proposals.

The Guild also proposed expanded job security provisions that would protect employees with seniority from termination by guaranteeing training for senior staffers if the company hasn’t trained them for different work.

AP would have to offer vacant positions to laid-off employees in order of seniority. The  proposal also calls for expanded recall rights if an employee is terminated and work becomes available later.

The Guild continues to assert that a number of technology jobs should be union-covered because the staffers who hold those positions install, operate and maintain equipment or perform duties covered by the Guild in the past.

The AP did not immediately respond to the proposal. Bargaining resumes Wednesday, Jan. 19, with the two sides discussing the pension. On Thursday, bargaining will focus on human rights.

The Guild was represented by technician John Braunreiter, along with Martha Waggoner and Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were: Michelle Ehrlich, Carole Feldman, Hilda Auguste, Alison Quan and Steve Macri.