The International Federation of Journalists today called on Associated Press, the international news agency, to abandon a union-busting exercise at its offices in Mexico City and to respect union rights.
In particular, the IFJ says the company should use its 37-year-old collective bargaining agreement to negotiate the settlement of a dispute with the Mexican journalists’ union over five staff members who face dismissal.
The IFJ says the company’s dismissal of the five workers is a blatant attempt to wipe out its obligations under the collective bargaining agreement with Mexico’s Sindicato Nacional de Redactores de la Prensa, which represents the dismissed staff members.
“The case is bewildering because the SNRP and its members have had a good relationship with AP management in Mexico for years,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “We cannot understand why AP should dismiss five seasoned and talented workers. This case also raises concerns about the AP labor strategy and the possibility that its new global approach may be to slash costs by cutting personnel and collective bargaining agreements.”
Managers in Mexico singled out the four editorial assistants and one unionized supplemental editorial assistant as workers who had to be dismissed for economic reasons. The company has refused to negotiate with the union or look for other cost-cutting measures so that the five workers can keep their jobs.
“It is clear that the Associated Press is eager to rid itself of the collective bargaining agreement we have had for nearly four decades,” said Rogaciano Mèndez Gonzalez, General Secretary of SNRP-Mèxico. “It has shown no regard for the collective bargaining agreement nor the lives and careers of the five workers involved. All our attempts to find other ways to cut costs have been rebuffed.”
Many of the IFJ’s affiliated organisations around the world have Associated Press journalists within their membership.
Last week the IFJ asked AP Chief Executive Thomas Curley to investigate this case and to seek a negotiated settlement for the dispute.
“The management gave the impression they were ready to be reasonable,” said White. “But it looks as though they just want to eliminate a union presence in their Mexico operation. That will send a worrying signal to unionized AP offices the world over.”
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries