Guild proposes 3 pay raises of 3 percent each

The News Media Guild proposed Wednesday three pay raises of 3 percent each for workers at The Associated Press, with the first to take effect on the date a tentative agreement is reached.

The next raise would be effective the same date in 2015, and the third, the same date in 2016. The contract would expire three years after a tentative agreement is reached, the Guild proposed. The AP has proposed increases of 2 percent, 1.75 percent and 1.5 percent with a ratification bonus of $500.

The Guild also proposed changes to health insurance to bring the Guild proposal and the company proposal closer. Among the changes the Guild proposed: a 10 percent increase in premiums in 2014; 10 percent in 2015; and 8 percent in 2016.

AP has proposed an average increase of 19 percent in 2014, with the actual amount depending on the tier.

The Guild also proposed specialist copays of $40. That would be an increase from the current $30 and less than the AP’s proposal of $45.

Also, in the premium plan, the Guild proposed coinsurance of 90 percent in-network and 70 percent out-of-network and out-of-pocket maximums of $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for the family tier.

The AP has proposed coinsurance of 85 percent in the premium plan with out-of-pocket maximums of $1,900 for an employee and $3,800 for a family.

For the basic plan, the Guild proposed coinsurance of 80 percent in-network and out-of-pocket maximums of $2,400 for an individual and $4,800 for a family. The AP has proposed coinsurance of 75 percent and out-of-pocket maximums of $2,900 for individuals and $5,800 for families in the basic plan.

The maximum amount a staffer would pay for a brand preferred prescription drug would be $60, while the AP has proposed $100. The maximum for a non-brand preferred prescription drug would be $100; the AP has proposed $120.

The Guild reiterated its opposition to the company proposal to drop working spouses and domestic partners from AP health insurance.

The Guild’s proposal would shift about $6 million in costs to staffers, while the AP’s proposal would shift more than $8 million.

NMG bargainers once again questioned the AP about why the company wants to limit the news associates positions to two-year temp jobs. AP said it’s answered the question and hasn’t changed its stance. The Guild also said again that news associates should receive penalty pay for schedule changes made during the work week. Otherwise, those staffers can’t make plans to go to a movie or out to dinner with any certainty, the Guild said.

The AP also wants all grievances filed by news associates to be resolved, not merely filed, before a general release is signed and they receive their lump sum check for any pay raises earned during their two years. For other staffers who are leaving the company, the general release only says grievances be filed within the legally required 90 days.

The company said it wants grievances resolved at the end of the two-year term so it can sever its ties with the news associate.

“This proposal puts pressure on anyone to drop grievances so they can get their check and head out to look for a non-AP job,” Guild President Martha Waggoner said. “Grievances can take months, or even years, to settle, and the AP knows that.”

Bargaining resumes Thursday.