NEW YORK – Hundreds of journalists at The Associated Press are taking part in a national “byline boycott” and are signing a petition protesting proposed cuts at the news cooperative.
Guild members and supporters are removing their bylines from news stories and photo credits. They’re also demonstrating unity by wearing red shirts and signing a petition asking AP management to reconsider a pension plan freeze and increases in medical payments by more than 40 percent.
“Guild members have increased productivity, embraced new skills, and have made many financial sacrifices,” said NMG President Tony Winton. “Members are saying AP has to do better if it wants to preserve and protect quality journalism.”
After failing to make payments into the pension plan for years, AP wants to freeze the benefit, which was paid by salary deferrals. The Guild says the proposal would undermine retirement security for almost all workers. AP also wants workers to absorb $1 million in medical plan costs even though workers adopted cost-savings measures two years ago. AP told the union that it can afford to absorb the increase – it “just doesn’t want to.”
About 1,200 AP employees in the U.S. are represented by the News Media Guild, a local of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. The union represents reporters, writers, editors, broadcast staff, technology employees and business office employees.
The current two-year contract expired Nov. 30.