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Guild Claims 500 AP Staffers Signed Petition against Contract Proposal

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Guild Claims 500 AP Staffers Signed Petition against Contract Proposal

Article excerpt

The Associated Press' largest union claims that more than 500 AP employees have signed a petition "urging the company to reverse course in contract talks ... saying the company's bargaining stance threatens quality journalism."

The News Media Guild states in a press release that the petition signers "asked AP to change direction, finding the AP's contract proposals to the News Media Guild to be 'regressive.' In contract talks with the Guild, the AP is proposing a wage freeze, weakened job security, vastly larger prescription drug payments, increased medical plan co-payments, elimination of overtime pay for hundreds of employees, and a reduction of sick leave for new mothers."

AP Spokesman Paul Colford declined to comment on the petition or contract talks Tuesday.

The News Media Guild represents more than 1,400 AP reporters, editors, photographers, and support staff in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"The petition notes that AP staffers have worked hard to expand their skills as AP adapts to the new journalism landscape," the release said. "AP workers previously embraced training and cross-platform work in the current labor agreement that is set to expire Nov. 30. The union is proposing even more widespread training to make sure AP remains relevant to the company's clients."

The petition effort comes a month after the union launched its bargaining for a new contract by aiming rather high in its initial contract proposal, which sought a two-year contract with 10% annual raises, more training, and improved retirement and health benefits. …

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