Tag Archives: NMG

Guardian US unit nominates negotiators for contract bargaining

The Guardian US union has nominated Ashley Chervinski, Amana Fontanella-Khan, Tim Hill and Amanda Holpuch to negotiate its contract renewal.

Amana and Amanda are returning to the table after negotiating the Guardian US’s first Guild contract, which was signed in October 2017.

Amana and Tim are co-presidents of the office’s union and Amanda is a member of the News Media Guild executive committee.

Tim and Ashley are sub-editors, also known as copy editors, on the production desk. Tim started at the Guardian’s London office before moving to New York in 2011, making him one of the US office’s longest serving employees. Ashley joined in 2018 and previously worked as a freelancer at various publications including Refinery29.

Amana is opinion editor for the Guardian’s US edition and has worked there for five  years. Amanda is a national correspondent and has worked in the New York office for eight years.

NMG Scholarship Winners Announced

Each year, the News Media Guild awards three college scholarships by lottery to members in good standing. The participation rate is always high, and this year was no exception. Here’s a look at this year’s winners:

The $2,000 award winners were nominated by newsperson Scott Bauer of Madison, Wisconsin, and technician Rich O’Neill of New Hampshire.

Bauer nominated his daughter, Anna Bauer, who is studying political science at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. O’Neill nominated his daughter, Julianna O’Neill, who is studying environmental social science at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom.

The $1,000 wild card scholarship winner is Julia Bailey. She’s the niece of newsperson Tom Davies of Indianapolis, and is studying musical theater at Stephens College.

The two $2,000 awards are available for Guild members and their spouses, children, grandchildren, parents or other members of their immediate households. The wild card scholarship is available to Guild members’ relatives, friends or co-workers who aren’t members of their immediate household.

The awards are made each year in memory of Patrick J. Sherlock, a late president of the Wire Service Guild, the forerunner of the News Media Guild. Sherlock had been an Associated Press writer and editor in Concord, N.H.; Portland and Augusta, Maine; and the General Desk in New York.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

We keep AP working

BARGAINING: Guild, AP reach overall tentative agreement

News Media Guild bargainers reached an overall tentative agreement for its contracts with The Associated Press on Thursday. The Guild bargaining team believes it would need intense mobilization or a possible strike to make any more progress at the table, and for that reason, the Guild negotiators are recommending that these contracts for the editorial and technology units be approved. The final decision will be up to members.

Guild and AP bargainers have met 52 times since August 2017. The last contract expired Sept. 30, 2017.

AP has offered its final proposals, which the Guild bargainers cannot change at the table.  The Guild will announce a referendum election soon.

Here are the details, which include a few changes in wages and moving expenses from yesterday’s bulletin:

  • A lump sum payment of $750 upon ratification; a 2 percent raise on July 1, 2019; a $250 lump sum on Jan. 1, 2020; a 1.75 percent raise on July 1, 2020; a $250 lump sum on Jan. 1, 2021; and a 1.75 percent raise on July 1, 2021.
  • Increases of 20 percent to the monthly premiums on the top-tier premium health plan. The increases would take effect July 1, 2019; Jan. 1, 2020; Jan. 1, 2021; and Jan. 1, 2022. Lower increases to the basic health plan and the addition of an optional high deductible health plan. Another open-enrollment period would occur before these increases take effect, and the high deductible plan would be available beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
  • The contract would have an effective date of Jan. 31, 2019, and expire on June 30, 2022.
  • No changes to the amount of vacation or holidays an employee receives.
  • Merges the editorial, administrative and technology pension plans into a single plan to save on administrative costs. This does not change any pension benefits or the plan design.
  • No changes to severance pay, except in the situation described below when severance would increase.
  • Adoption of new job security language that was previously discussed at great length. Adoption of new job security language for technicians that says seniority can be measured within the virtual work groups of Global Help Desk and Customer Support, rather than business locations. Increasing the amount of severance paid to a laid-off employee in the editorial unit who is the only person in his or her organizational unit at a bureau.
  • Quadrupling the amount of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers upon the birth or adoption of a child (from one week paid to four weeks paid.) This is in addition to the short-term disability benefit for women who give birth.
  • Changing contract language to allow employees to use sick days to care for ill children, spouses and parents. (Now, employees can only use sick days for themselves.) The language change also allows mothers and fathers to use sick days after the birth or adoption of a child, which could extend paid parental leaves by an additional two weeks.
  • Adding insurance coverage for a commonly prescribed treatment for autism called applied behavioral analysis therapy
  • Adopting a lump sum reimbursement system for moving expenses. An employee who is relocating would receive a $7,500 lump sum. If the employee is selling his or her primary home, another $5,000 payment would be made, along with an additional $2,000 if the employee has a spouse who is moving and another $2,000 if the employee has a child or children.
  • Extending flexible scheduling to employees on the news side who elect to do so. This does not apply to employees who work fixed shifts, like desk editors, breaking news staffers or supervisors.
  • Restricting overtime for employees on overseas sports events like the Olympics. This limitation applies only to travel days flying to and from the international location. On those days, an employee would receive eight hours of pay. Once on site, the employee would still receive OT for covering the events and for time spent traveling to and from sports venues.
  • No changes to the number and location of news associates allowed under the contract, but changing language to allow news associates to apply for AP jobs prior to the completion of their two-year assignments. Also allowing news associates to search for, permission and prepare for publication user-generated content; and rearranging stacks within AP’s mobile app. No original reporting, bylines or credits are permitted.

Full details of the tentative agreement will be provided to members ahead of the referendum.

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 deputy managing editor David Scott, attorney Steve Macri, and senior vice president for human resources and corporate communications Jessica Bruce. 

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.

Guild leaders meet in Washington, DC

The News Media Guild’s top leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., the weekend of Aug. 10-12 for annual meetings.

Among the highlights:

  • -The Representative Assembly adopted a budget for the coming year that is fairly conservative with regard to membership levels and continued bargaining expenses.
  • The Representative Assembly elected Kimberlee Kruesi of Boise as its chair and Mike Cidoni Lennox of Los Angeles as vice chair.
  • The Guild’s bargaining team gave an update as contract negotiations near the one-year mark.
  • A new recognition, called the Freeman Award, was presented to Guild 2nd vice president Mike Warren of Atlanta. Named for former Guild member and mobilizer Rick Freeman, the award honors the Guild member who goes above and beyond in service to the Guild. Mike has been instrumental in signing up new members and led a petition drive on contract negotiations that included signatures from more than 600 AP employees. Rick, who died last year from brain cancer at age 40, was a tireless advocate for unions and workers and we hope this award can keep his legacy alive.