Norma Love, a News Media Guild member who worked for The Associated Press for more than 30 years and who was instrumental in forcing the company to provide benefits for domestic partners, was described as “a consummate professional who holds herself to the highest standards of journalism” in a tribute that’s part of the Congressional Record.
Retiree Adolphe Bernotas, a former member of the the News Media Guild’s Executive Council and longtime bargainer who worked with Love in AP’s bureau in Concord, said Love “was as stalwart as stalwarts come in the News Media Guild.” She was a pioneer, he said, in securing domestic partner benefits in NMG-AP contracts.
“She would become outraged at the company’s casually dismissive response that ‘we will follow the law’ on the Guild’s demand for gender equality,” Bernotas said. “Conveniently, there was no domestic partner law at the time. Norma acted against AP’s stonewalling more than once as she would join the union’s negotiating team. Facing AP executives across the table one afternoon, she spoke for gender fairness with such grace, quiet passion, logic and heart that it moved me to tears. I predicted accurately to her that day it would be but a matter of time before the Guild would win gender equality for AP employees.”
The Guild and AP agreed to domestic partner benefits in the contract that took effect December 2002.
Love, recalling her days at the bargaining table, said she came to New York City twice to get the AP “to recognize us as equals. The day after each presentation AP turned us down. The first time, I knew I was outing myself to AP management but It was a fight like all our fights to be treated with respect and dignity that had to be fought regardless of any consequences _ and the only consequence was rejection despite any of my fears. I like to think we moved AP forward. Union members should always take heart that all efforts for the values that are dear come in increments, important increments.
“I wish you all the best in the difficult days ahead.”
In her Congressional Record tribute last week, Ayotte said “the people of New Hampshire are so fortunate that Norma Love has been asking hard questions on their behalf for the past 31 years. Norma brings tremendous credit to the profession that she loves, and she will leave behind big shoes to fill in the statehouse press room.”
In addition, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council declared June 18th as Norma Love Day.
The Guild also thanks Love for being a dedicated union member. Here’s to a long and happy retirement, Norma!