Reuters journalists approve new contract
Journalists, technicians and other news professionals represented by the Newspaper Guild of New York have ratified a three-year contract with Thomson Reuters Corp. ending an often acrimonious two-and-a-half year contract dispute, the Guild announced today.
The agreement passed 252 to 68 with six abstentions.
The new contract, which is already in effect, replaces unilaterally imposed work rules that had been in place for 18 months and were at the center of litigation between the Guild and the global media company. The agreement includes a guaranteed 1.5 percent increase in each of its three years. The company had previously insisted that most or all raises be awarded solely at its discretion.
The compromise agreement, which incorporates several of the company’s proposals, also restores a 2 percent company retirement contribution in the form of a match, making employees eligible for a 6 percent company match to their 401(k) accounts. Although employee medical costs increased under the agreement, the contract limits the company’s ability to pass further cost increases onto employees.
In addition, to settle charges at the National Labor Relations Board and in exchange for accepting some work rule changes, employees will receive lump sum cash payments totaling $7.6 million. On average, each of the 430 Guild-covered employees at Thomson Reuters will be paid roughly $17,000 over three years.
Yet to be resolved is the NLRB charge that Thomson Reuters’ social media policy violated federal labor law by restricting employees’ rights to openly discuss working conditions, and that it was unlawfully applied in connection with a tweet sent by a Guild-represented journalist. Settlement talks between the Guild and the company are ongoing.
“It’s been a long battle and we’re happy that it is behind us,” said New York Guild president Bill O’Meara in a statement. “We have a new contract that rewards Guild employees for the critical work they do to make Thomson Reuters successful. I truly hope that this new contract sets the stage for a productive and positive relationship with the new Thomson Reuters management team.”
More than 75 percent of Guild members at Thomson Reuters voted at meetings held between June 29 and July 7. Members cast votes in New York City, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, and Hauppauge, NY.