April 29, 2023
The News Media Guild’s bargaining team met with The Associated Press twice this week to discuss both the technological and editorial units.
The Guild pressed the company on why it cannot hire badly needed technicians, as speedup is a major issue. AP said it might do better if it can post the duties in the combined job it wants to move towards. The union told the company it can post those duties with the understanding it cannot adversely affect current staff.
Regarding the TU, guild bargainers submitted several questions to the company on Tuesday regarding the new restructuring of the unit. Similar to what the company did with US news, AP is proposing to combine customer support, global help and field services desks to one group. The guild is concerned about job security under this change and is working to protect employees as they will have to receive new training while still managing their job responsibilities.. This has involved asking questions about who will get seniority, travel assignments, vacation preferences and hiring open positions. The guild is still negotiating but we are hoping to finish the loose ends soon.
For the editorial unit, the guild and AP focused most of Thursday’s bargaining session on the new proposed social media policy. The company provided the guild its latest proposed policy, outlining that it would provide more materials about the SAFE program on the AP website. The union objected to the presentation of the proposal saying it was hard to follow. AP said it would rework it to meet the Guild request. However, the company is currently maintaining that the social media policy is not tied to online harassment. It is currently opposing adding recommendations from the online harassment committee into the social media policy. The company says responding to online harassment is part of an existing program, which does not have to be voted on by guild members because it applies to all staffers. The guild disagrees,” and will continue to bargain on this topic.
New bargaining dates are being arranged.
The guild was represented by Vin Cherwoo, a sports writer from New York; John Braunreiter, a customer support specialist from Milwaukee; Kim Kruesi, a newsperson from Nashville, Tenn.; Bobby Caina Calvan, a newsperson from New York; Mike Warren, an editor from Atlanta; Ed Morsett, a senior technician from Glendale, Arizona; and administrator Kevin Keane.