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03-14-2011, 10:56 PM
AP Workers to Demonstrate for Quality Journalism

--(BUSINESS WIRE)--News Media Guild - Communications Workers of America:

WHAT: Associated Press journalists will rally outside the Newseum this Saturday to support quality journalism in contract talks with AP. The company is demanding deep cuts in income, benefits and retirement security, despite its positive financial outlook.

WHERE: Outside the Newseum, 6th and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington.

WHEN: Saturday, March 12, from 11 a.m. till noon.

A one hour protest, that will show they mean business!

WHY: AP’s 1,250 journalists and technicians have been trying to negotiate a new contract with the AP since October, but the company continues to insist on deep cuts. AP staffers will encourage the public to enter the Newseum and see for themselves how vital the work of AP is to the nation and the world, and to support workers fighting for a fair contract.

AP enjoyed several years of strong growth before the recession and its CEO, former USA Today executive Tom Curley, says AP’s finances are improving again. Unlike newspapers and TV stations hurt by loss of advertisers to the Internet, AP has a wide range of income sources, including Internet customers such as Google and Yahoo, corporations, government agencies, specialty publications and foreign news outlets. Income from many of those sources is growing steadily.

AP workers already have made many concessions to reduce costs, and haven't had a wage increase in two years. Some ten percent of the staff was laid off. Yet AP insists on steep health care increases and a pension freeze, with minimal wage increases. The combined effect would immediately cut income for most of the staff and dramatically reduce retirement income.

Staff has been protesting these demands since October, signing petitions, withholding their names from their work, withholding use of their personal cars and cell phones for assignments and sending direct appeals to Curley. More than 8,000 people around the world have already signed the petition on www.change.org. AP hasn’t budged, even though its negotiators say AP can afford to give us a fair deal, it just doesn’t want to do so.

This rally is an unprecedented step by our union, the News Media Guild. AP staff at dozens of other bureaus around the U.S. will be picketing outside AP offices next week staff again will remove their names from their work all next week.

VISUALS: Dozens of workers, with their children and other family members, will be protesting in Guild red, joined by the Guild’s president, Tony Winton. We’ll also have a large banner reading, “Support Quality Journalism and AP Workers,” and will be distributing flyers and handing out snacks to Newseum visitors.