Members of the News Media Guild, who have been working without a contract at the Associated Press since the end of November, announced a national “byline boycott.” They’re also signing a petition to protest proposed cuts at the news cooperative.
The union members have removed their names from news stories and photo credits. They’re also wearing red shirts to demonstrate solidarity with the union stance.
The petition asks AP management to reconsider a pension plan freeze and a hike in the employee-paid portion of medical costs.
“Guild members have increased productivity, embraced new skills, and have made many financial sacrifices. Members are saying AP has to do better if it wants to preserve and protect quality journalism,” said News Media Guild President Tony Winton.
“AP’s proposals to the News Media Guild are fundamental to maintaining the maximum number of quality journalism jobs, and assuring that these positions are compensated fairly and in accordance with the realities of today’s very difficult economic challenges. Our proposals are designed to keep the best and most talented newspersons employed and to maximize AP’s ability to continue to cover extended and breaking stories. We are confident we will reach agreement on these critical issues,” said a statement from AP Director of Media Relations Paul Colford in response to an inquiry from RBR-TVBR.
RBR-TVBR observation: As a former AP staffer, this editor has wondered whether anyone outside the organization even notices when there is a byline strike. The options for the union are rather limited, though, short of an actual work stoppage – and the current economy would make that even more risky than usual.