BARGAINING: Guild advances proposals on Temporary Employees, Leaves of Absence, Outside Work

June 15, 2022

Bargainers with the News Media Guild and The Associated Press met again on Monday to discuss a new contract for the Guild’s editorial and technology units, which expires on June 30.

The Guild advanced a proposal on Temporary Employees (Article 18) concerning job security and hiring preferences for employees on long-term, grant-funded jobs. The AP representatives indicated they want to work it out, adding that they would want to have some distinctions between long-term employees who go into a grant-funded position and employees hired directly into grant positions.

The Guild also proposed several changes to the Leaves of Absence (Article 23). The AP rejected the proposal to reduced the number of years before an employee is eligible to take a sabbatical from 10 years to 7 years. On the Guild’s proposal to increase parental leave from four weeks to 12 weeks, the AP said it will address that in its economic proposals later. The AP also said it will consider the proposal to add cousins to the list of family members for which an employee can use compassionate leave.

The Guild made a proposal on Outside Work (Article 29) to require the AP give an answer on requests for outside work within three days. The AP said it could confirm receipt of the request within that time frame but did not want to be bound to give an answer because some requests could be more complicated and need to be worked out. A short time frame would likely result in defaulting to denials.

In response to comments made in several town halls, the Guild asked if AP was considering any changes to News Associates (Article 19). The AP responded it was not intending any changes. The Guild said its concern is always about employees hired in those positions having chances at career advancement. The AP responded its intent when the positions were created was for a path to Class A employment, and that remains true.

The Guild and AP also agreed to renew the side letters on Life Insurance and Short-Term Disability with no changes.

Representing the Guild were Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports; Michelle Monroe, a newsperson on the West Desk; John Braunreiter, a customer support specialist in Milwaukee; Guild administrative officer Kevin Keane; and Guild staff representative Luis Espinosa-Organista.

Representing the AP were attorney Steve Macri; Teresita Seeberger, senior director of global human resources; David Scott, vice president of news strategy and operations; Keisa Caesar, human resources manager; Jean Maye, human resources director; and Sue Gilkey, global director of employee benefits.

Talks will resume Friday, June 17.