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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 questions AP about technician layoffs

The News Media Guild questioned The Associated Press on Wednesday about why the company laid off union-covered technicians while posting jobs for management-level jobs.

The company laid off 10 Guild-covered technicians more than two weeks ago. The company said that in addition, 18 technology unit managers have resigned since October and eight others were laid off.

AP, which posted six management jobs in the TU recently, said Thursday the company is “just trying to keep the lights on” by hiring for those positions.

Another reason for the layoffs was that the company learned outsourcing of TU jobs wasn’t an option, the AP said.

In addition, the Guild turned over to the AP a letter signed by almost 600 staffers stating their support for the photographers, video journalists and others who get the weekly mileage allowance. The AP has proposed significantly reducing that reimbursement.

The AP and the Guild meet again Thursday to bargain.

Guild presents opening bargaining proposals

The News Media Guild proposed Thursday a 6 percent annual raise over each of the next three years for staffers at The Associated Press as the union presented much of its overall proposal to the company.

 The Guild also proposed improved job security terms to protect employees in small correspondencies and said it would present an alternative version of the AP’s manager guide evaluation. For technicians, the Guild raised questions about subcontracting concerns and the switch to Web-based delivery from satellite. Continue reading