To mark the one-year anniversary of difficult contract talks with The Associated Press, staffers covered by the News Media Guild will participate in multiple protests Tuesday.
The News Media Guild has pushed for affordable health care and job security during a year of bargaining that began July 22, 2013, while the company continues to demand major concessions. Bargaining is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, July 22 and 23.
Union-covered staffers in dozens of bureaus from Honolulu to Portland, Maine, will participate in various protests to support NMG bargainers.
_ Writers and photographers across the country will hold a four-day byline and credit boycott, from 12:01 a.m. EDT Tuesday through 12:01 a.m. EDT Saturday. They have the contractual right to withhold their name from their work, and doing so en masse for days is a sacrifice meant to show AP they oppose its giveback demands.
_In bureaus and departments nationwide, as well as AP’s sports and photography national verticals, staffers are signing Happy Anniversary cards to their bosses and top AP management, rejecting the worst of AP’s current proposals and saying “it’s time for AP to start bargaining in good faith.”
_In New York City, NMG will hold a rally outside AP’s headquarters at 450 W. 33rd St., from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
_Staffers will wear their bright red Guild T-shirts and lanyards all day on July 22.
_They’ll take group photos for our social media and web sites (www.facebook.com/supportAPworkers, @NMGAP, www.newsmediaguild.org), with protest signs and messages about the anniversary. (Note prior protest photos are available there.)
And staffers will send Tweets/Facebook updates noting that AP is financially strong again, so it’s time to give staff a #fairAPcontract.
Staffers have done similar protests, with a couple of actions each time, every three weeks or so to coincide with bargaining sessions. They also sent Happy Labor Day cards to CEO Gary Pruitt, asking him for a fair deal, picketed outside AP’s New York headquarters in April, and sent petitions declaring the opposition to AP’s proposals.
AP’s proposals include shifting $8 million in health costs to employees, being able to force staffers to transfer to another location, halving severance pay for new hires, giving a below-inflation raise and creating a second-tier class of reporters called news associates.
The company is pushing hard for these cost-cutting measures even though it recently sold Stats Inc. for what sources have said was at least $100 million, all of which AP executives have said will go toward paying down the pension debt.
AP’s current offer would significantly reduce the living standard of its Guild-covered journalists, technicians and support staffers, who have all been working without a contract since the last one expired Nov. 30, 2013.
The News Media Guild represents more than 1,000 staffers at The Associated Press. NMG is part of The Newspaper Guild and Communications Workers of America.