Tag Archives: Pension

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BARGAINING: Guild proposes 5 percent annual raises

The News Media Guild advanced proposals Wednesday calling for 5 percent annual increases in wages and economic differentials in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The Guild also proposed adding Miami and Seattle to the list of cities that receive economic differentials because of higher cost-of-living expenses.

The Guild also proposed adding a new differential payment for employees who work on Saturdays. Now, an employee can receive differentials for working Sundays and between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The Guild’s wages proposal also includes a new provision that calls on the company to adjust the pay increases upward in 2018 and 2019 if the Cost of Living Adjustment, as computed by the U.S. Department of Labor Consumer Price Index, exceeds the pay increase agreed to in the contract.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press introduced a proposal that would greatly expand the company’s use of news associates. Now, the company is allowed a total of 16 news associates to be located at its four regional hubs. Under the proposal brought forth Wednesday, the AP would have no restrictions on the number or location of news associates and they would no longer be limited to two years of employment.

The company proposal would also allow news associates to do original reporting and have bylines, tag lines and credit lines, but they would always receive the Class A newsperson “to start” rate of pay when performing that work. The company is willing to negotiate their salary rate, which is now the Class A newsperson “to start” rate.

Under the current contract, news associates are only allowed to do member pickups, daybooks, editorial roundups, calendars and the transmission of member photo pickups

The AP also proposed eliminating existing contract language that now says “News associates shall not be used to enable the layoff of other employees or the elimination of positions covered by this Agreement, who are engaged in the State News report.”

The AP also introduced its proposal on vacation time. The company proposal would maintain the current levels of vacation eligibility but would require employees to schedule 14 days annually of any vacation or personal days that have been carried over from previous years. Now, employees must schedule seven days annually of any carried-over time.

The AP also indicated Wednesday that it planned to later introduce its own proposal on severance pay, but the company did not provide any details. The Guild has proposed leaving that section of the contract unchanged.

Also Wednesday, the Guild and the AP reached tentative agreements to leave the dues checkoff and outside work portions of the contract unchanged.

Representing the Guild at the table 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: Alison Quan, director of human resources, technology and business operations; Hilda Auguste, human resources manager; Keisa Caesar, human resources generalist and project manager; Sue Gilkey; global director of employee benefits; Jean Maye, human resources director; AP’s attorney Steve Macri and David Scott, deputy managing editor.

Guild negotiators will spend Thursday preparing for the next negotiations session, now set for the week of Sept 18.

AP reduces pension debt to estimated $37.6M; bargaining resumes next week

We got good news Thursday from The Associated Press — its estimated pension debt has dropped from $223 million in 2013 to an estimated $37.6 million.

A $7.6 million payment in 2013 and a $110 million payment this year, which included the proceeds from AP’s sale of Stats Inc., significantly reduced the interest due on future payments.

AP also shaved three years off the time in which it will even have a pension debt. By 2019, The AP estimates it will owe $342,000 to pay off the pension debt.

“It’s wonderful to see that The AP has taken steps to pay down the pension and is no longer operating with such a huge debt,” News Media Guild President Martha Waggoner said. “We certainly hope the AP decides it can now be more generous with the Guild-covered staff.”

The Guild and the AP are in their 15th month of bargaining. Bargainers for the Guild and AP met Wednesday and Thursday in off-the-record sessions and will resume bargaining Sept. 23 and Sept. 24.

News Media Guild, AP discuss company’s finances

The Associated Press shared details of its finances with Guild negotiators Friday, reiterating much of what CEO Gary Pruitt said earlier this year at a town hall meeting with staff.

The AP said its projected revenue for 2013 is $599 million, down from $622 million a year earlier. On the good news side, the company said its operating cash profits are projected to be $37 million in 2013, up from $24 million a year earlier.

The company also said its debt, which was $36 million in August 2012, was $10 million in June 2013. Some of the debt was projected, the company said, as the AP made major capital investments, such as HD cameras.

For a look a the company’s slides on AP’s finances, click here:

For details on the company’s estimate of savings from its dismissal pay proposal, click here:

For details on AP’s figures on cash operating profits, click here.

The figures show that the company expects to cut expenses by $36 million from December 2012 to December 2013. The Guild asked how much of the reduction was due to cuts in compensation. You’ll see from the link to the cash operating profits that the savings from compensation cuts was $10 million, while the savings from freelance use was $5 million.  Continue reading

Guild proposes new retirement plan for AP staff

The News Media Guild on Tuesday proposed an alternative defined contribution plan that calls for contributions as high as 15 percent of pay after AP said it would not accept the Guild’s earlier “fixed cost” pension plan proposal. The alternative plan, which saves the company $18 million over five years, was developed by the union’s actuaries as an equitable alternative, resulting from AP’s insistence on freezing the pension plan.  

The AP had set $18 million as its savings target earlier in the talks. Continue reading

AP Rejects Guild’s Fixed-Cost Pension Plan

NEW YORK – The News Media Guild advanced a compromise pension proposal  Wednesday that would almost completely address Associated Press’ cost saving targets, but the AP rejected the proposal, saying nothing but a defined contribution plan would meet its needs.

About 100 rally for quality jouralism outside AP's NY HQ

The rejection came as hundreds of AP news workers held rallies across the country and even more withheld bylines in support for the union’s quality journalism proposals.

The Guild’s revision to its “fixed cost” pension plan would save AP at least $1.6 million a year. AP had sought savings of about $2 million annually. The Guild’s actuaries said even with the savings, the fixed cost pension plan would still significantly outperform the AP’s proposal.

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