Unions representing thousands of journalists from all over the world today protested recent union-busting tactics at the Associated Press as part of a global Day of Action sponsored by the International Federation of Journalists.
“Recent soundings from AP management suggest the company is planning a union-busting campaign,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “We are calling on AP CEO Tom Curley to reaffirm AP’s commitment to workers’ rights and collective bargaining.”
Unions from key countries in which the Associated Press is represented sent appeals to Mr. Curley expressing their dismay over actions of the company in Mexico where five editorial workers were dismissed in a row over the future of union representation.
The local dispute in Mexico City took on a global dimension when a company lawyer told a local union official that the elimination of a collective agreement with the Mexican union SNRP was only the start of a worldwide campaign by Associated Press to eliminate union representation and collective agreements where they existed.
“This news which has still to be confirmed by associated press senior management has caused consternation among IFJ unions in countries where they have hitherto had good relations with AP management,” said White. The day of action is designed to indicate that the union movement is prepared to fight any strategy that will eliminate what it regards as a sound basis for industrial relations which has operated throughout AP for many years.”
Among the countries that have taken part in the coordinated action are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Great Britain, Honduras, Ireland, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Sweden, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. Today’s action is the start of a determined and, if necessary, long-running campaign for the maintenance of union rights.
“We hope even at this late stage that the company will step back from any provocative action which will undermine its relations with the unions and which will damage not only the quality of working conditions but also the quality of AP’s editorial service,” said White.
The union campaign may spread as other unions in other sectors pitch in with their own support. The Mexican telephone workers union Telephone Workers Union of Mexico (STRM) and Mexico’s National Union of Workers (UNT) have already sent letters expressing their solidarity with the SNRP in Mexico City.
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries