Guild Starts EFE Talks

MIAMI – Seeking to end a nearly four-year salary freeze, the News Media Guild on Thursday called on the EFE News Service to increase wages by ten percent over two years as contract talks started with the news agency.

The Guild represents EFE editorial and administrative employees in the United States at offices in California, Florida, New York, and Washington, D.C. Employees’ last wage increase was in January, 2008. EFE, based in Madrid, is the world’s largest Spanish-language news agency.

In addition to its proposals for wage increases of five percent each year in a two-year agreement, the union advanced proposals for increased employer contributions to the 401(k) retirement plan and for additional paid time off.

“EFE workers have seen their real wages eroded by inflation since 2008,” said Tony Winton, the Guild’s president.  “Workers have done their part for four years and are eager to continue embracing new skills and technologies, but it’s time for EFE to improve compensation,” he said.

The Guild proposed many other improvements to the contract, including :

  • non-discrimination protection
  • a simpler, clearer grievance process
  • increased severance pay
  • broader health and safety provisions, including those for dangerous news assignments
  • fair reimbursement for employee business expenses
  • improved multimedia  and professional training

EFE listened to the Guild’s proposals. It proposed a three-month contract extension under current terms while negotiations continue. The Guild’s contract is currently set to expire on Dec. 31. The Guild told EFE it would respond to extension proposal at a later date.  Discussions will resume in January.

The Guild was represented by Winton, EFE unit chair Jorge Bañales, and Miami reporter Sonia Osorio.

EFE was represented by José Manuel Sanz, EFE News Service vice president, and attorney Rudy Gómez.