Guild sees progress in job security talks with AP

Responding to a News Media Guild proposal, the Associated Press on Monday said it is willing to clarify job security language that would prevent stringers from being used to replace Guild-covered staff.

The Guild sought the clarification after a Denver photographer was laid off and his work assigned to stringers. The union’s lawyer is reviewing the AP’s proposal. 

Also Monday, the Guild made a wide-ranging counte offer to the company in an effort to narrow differences and push negotiations forward. 

Among the items in the Guild’s counter offer were:

  • a modified wage proposal that now seeks annual increases of 5 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent, with a contract ending March 1, 2014. 
  • a proposal that a new defined benefit plan cover all employees. The AP has been steadfast in seeking a freeze to the current traditional pension plan. The union told the company it was working with its actuary to develop a proposal that would address some of the company’s concerns. The union told AP that it is determined to have a plan that covers all workers. 
  • a proposal that there be no medical plan increases during the life of the contract
  • a proposal to limit the number of “exclusions”  — cases where the Guild believes staffers are being denied contract protection.
  • a proposal that compassionate leave be extended to more family members. The company agreed to the changes.
  • a proposal that employees be reimbursed for lock boxes used to store AP equipment; the company agreed it could provide a letter confirming the policy

Representing the Guild were: Tony Winton, Martha Waggoner, John Braunreiter and Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were: Michelle Ehrlich, Sue Gilkey, Kristin Gazlay, Hilda Auguste, Alison Quan and Steve Macri.

Talks will resume at 1 p.m. Thursday.