After six months of talks, the Associated Press staff and the company have reached a tentative agreement for a new 33-month contract.
The contract would include three raises of 1.5 percent: one to take effect immediately, a second Sept. 1, and a third Sept. 1, 2012.
The contract also calls for a freeze in pension plans (with a small bonus for current pensionholders) and adds language that will prevent AP from laying off staff and replacing them with freelancers. There is also a severance bonus if a one-person bureau is closed, a promise to freeze health insurance rates for the life of the contract, and new vacation language.
The contract will be mailed out for a vote “shortly,” the Guild said in a memo.
Will staff vote yes? “The bargaining committee believes this is the best deal possible short of more intense mobilization activities, up to and including a strike,” so things could get interesting if they don’t.