BARGAINING: Guild, AP discuss social media policy, grant-funded temps

March 11, 2023

The News Media Guild’s bargaining team met with The Associated Press on Thursday to discuss the Editorial Unit Contract.

The discussion focused on the social media policy proposal and the grant-funded temporary employee proposal.

Mike Warren kicked off the meeting detailing the Guild’s counter social media policy. Specifically, the Guild is requesting more detailed information and promises regarding training and protection to be added to the social media policy. The Guild wants the company to make a stronger commitment to its employees on how it will prepare and protect employees who report on sensitive and dangerous issues. Multiple Guild members offered comments on their experience being attacked online and at their homes because of their reporting.

For example, Ali Swensen talked about her experience having to go through prolonged online harassment before getting AP to pay for a DeleteMe service.

Gary Fields said the additions were important not only for US employees but also for our international colleagues who often face dangerous threats online.

The company said it was not ready to discuss the Guild’s counter proposal.

On format leaders, the company said it was not ready to discuss how many format leaders (previously known as player-coach roles) would be non-union positions. The Guild is continuing to press for more information on this topic.

The Guild and company then turned to the grant-funded temporary employee proposal. The company is currently not budging on its proposal that grant-funded employees cannot become regular employees until after they’ve worked with the company for 36 months. The Guild is pushing for 18 months. We are continuing to discuss this issue.

Several questions were raised about inconsistencies inside the company’s proposal regarding when grant-funded employees would start receiving benefits, particularly on the defined contribution benefit and trial period. David Scott said he would look into it.

Bargainers will meet March 23 to discuss the editorial unit.

In attendance for the guild: Vin Cherwoo, Kim Kruesi, John Braunreiter, Kevin Keane, Mike Warren, Ali Swenson, Angelo Fichera, Gary Fields, Andrew Selsky, Thalia Beaty

For the AP: David Scott, Teresita Seeberger, Patrick Collins, Keisa Caesar