Tag Archives: bargaining

We keep AP working

BARGAINING: Guild, AP discuss technology unit job security

Bargaining resumed Tuesday between the News Media Guild and The Associated Press, with the AP introducing a counter-proposal on job security for the technology unit.

The proposal largely tracks changes previously introduced for the editorial unit. It would assign technology employees into one of the following organizational units: Customer Support, Global Help Desk and US Field Operations. Layoffs would occur within the organizational units. Under the AP proposal, a senior employee could exercise seniority rights in a different organizational unit if he or she has the qualifications and skills to do the new work.

Now, many technology employees who work in Customer Support or the Global Help Desk are not bound by geography or to a bureau. The Guild has proposed that seniority be measured within “virtual groups” of Customer Support and Global Help Desk, and the AP said Tuesday that it is open to the concept.

The AP proposal would also increase severance pay by up to 12 extra weeks if a technology employee is the only person in their organizational unit in their business location.

The Guild has requested a list of how current technology employees would be assigned into organizational units, and will pass it along to members once it’s received.

Representing the Guild were Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Ed Morsett of Denver and administrator Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were senior vice president Jessica Bruce and attorney Steve Macri.

Bargaining resumes Wednesday.

We keep AP working

BARGAINING: Guild proposes counter on job security

The News Media Guild introduced a new counter-proposal on job security for the editorial unit Thursday in bargaining with The Associated Press.

The Guild negotiating team has worked closely with the union’s attorney on this counter-proposal and the bargainers believe it addresses company concerns while also preserving the job security of senior workers. The AP reviewed the counter-proposal Thursday and discussions continue on one issue.

Here are the key points of the proposal:

  • Employees will be placed in organizational units, similar to verticals. They are: Broadcast (which includes BNC), Business News, Digital News (which includes Nerve Center and News Research), Entertainment News, Global Enterprise (which includes Global Investigations), Health & Science News, International News, News Operations (which includes Data Center), News Support (which includes non-editorial jobs), Photos, Sports News, Religion News, US News and Washington News.
  • Layoffs would occur within an organizational unit in a business location. Just like current language, you can’t bump somebody in another city.
  • The company would still be required to offer buyouts within an organizational unit at a business location before laying people off.
  • Layoffs within an organizational unit would be based on seniority. If the affected person has seniority over someone with the same job title in a different organizational unit in the same bureau, he or she could bump them if the senior worker can demonstrate that they’re qualified to do the new job. The proposal defines “qualifications and skills” as being professionally competent in the subject matter of the position and being able to use the software and equipment required for the new job.
  • Under the language, an employee is automatically deemed competent in the subject matter of his or her organizational unit. (For example, a newsperson in sports is automatically qualified for the other sports newsperson jobs in his or her bureau.) If an employee outside of the US News organizational unit has done general news assignments within the past five years, he or she is automatically deemed competent in US News, which is by far the largest organizational unit. If it’s been longer than five years, than that person would still get the US News job if he or she has the skills to do it.
  • If an employee transfers into a different organizational unit (which would require a job posting), he or she would still be deemed competent to do the work of the previous organizational unit, as well as the new one. This is the one sticking point with AP as the company wants to set a five-year limit on this.
  • If a senior employee at risk of layoff has not received training on equipment or software that others in the bureau have received, then the senior employee is entitled to a four-week training period. The AP also agrees to provide a mentor or coach for the employee during the training period.
  • Severance pay remains unchanged in most circumstances (two weeks of pay for each year of service plus one additional week) but would increase for some people. If an employee is the only person in an organizational unit in a business location, he or she would be entitled to extra severance pay just like solo correspondents are. That extra severance is: four weeks of pay for fewer than five years of service; eight weeks of pay for fewer than 10 years of service; 10 weeks of pay for fewer than 15 years of service; and 12 weeks of pay for 15 or more years of service.

Representing the AP were senior vice president Jessica Bruce, attorney Steve Macri and deputy managing editor David Scott.

Representing the Guild were Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, and administrator Kevin Keane.

Bargaining resumes Sept. 25.


We keep AP working

BARGAINING: AP advances revised wage offer as package deal; Guild rejects

The Associated Press on Wednesday revised upward its wages proposal, but said the News Media Guild needed to accept its proposals to modify how moving expenses are paid as well as wholesale changes to the job security language.

On wages, the AP proposed: a 1.5 percent increase on the date of ratification; an $800 lump sum on Dec. 1, 2018; a 1.5 percent increase on Nov. 1, 2019; and a 1.5 percent increase on Dec. 1, 2020. The AP proposal would set an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2021, for the contract.

The proposal is a slight increase from the company’s most recent counter offer in May.

The Guild rejected the proposal.

AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee joined negotiators at the table Wednesday. She praised the work of AP employees, particularly the recent coverage on immigration as well as Guild member Jon Lemire’s questioning of President Donald Trump in Helsinki.

“We’ve been so thrilled lately at the work that our U.S. staff is doing. The last couple of weeks have just been so inspiring in so many ways,” she said.

The Guild negotiators told AP management that it agrees the bargaining unit members are doing extraordinary work _ but that it is demoralizing and insulting to receive wage and insurance proposals that amount to a pay cut.

The Guild team also told AP that its health insurance proposal would likely drive out employees, especially those with family plans. Now, a family premium plan that covers an employee, spouse and children costs the employee $409 in health insurance premiums. AP wants that number to rise to $764 per month by 2021.

AP said its managers are paying 20 percent of the cost of health insurance so Guild-covered employees should do the same.

The AP responded that the media industry is still “disrupted” and that tough business decisions must be made to ensure the company’s long-term sustainability and success.

Also Wednesday, the company said it was unwilling to move on its previous proposal on moving expenses that would give employees a lump sum rather than reimbursement for the actual costs incurred. That lump sum payment would cap at $14,000, although some previous expenses ran well beyond that. It would set a $5,000 minimum.

The Guild has previously received details of moving expenses involving two dozen employees over the past few years. Seven people were reimbursed for moving expenses of $5,000 or less, while 17 people incurred more than $5,000 in moving expenses. Of that same group, nine people had expenses above the $14,000 maximum that would be allowed under AP’s proposal. The highest reported reimbursement for moving costs was more than $44,000.

On job security, the AP said it wants the Guild to accept its most recent proposal. The Guild has shown its willingness to create organizational units, but said senior employees must be able to exercise seniority rights in another organizational unit (in the same bureau) if he or she has past experience doing that work.

Bargaining resumes Thursday.

Representing the Guild were Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Dave Herron of Seattle, and Guild administrator Kevin Keane.

Representing the AP were: Sally Buzbee, executive editor; Jessica Bruce, senior vice president for human resources and corporate communications; Brian Carovillano, managing editor; and Steve Macri, AP’s attorney.


NEWS: Supreme Court rules against public sector unions collecting agency fees

The Supreme Court has ruled that unions representing government workers cannot force non-members to pay agency fees.


CLICK HERE to read the AP story.

Other key links: