Oct. 6, 2005 – Workers at the United States headquarters of one of the worldâ€™s largest newswire services voted to turn down the companyâ€™s latest contract offer. The 274-4 vote to reject Reutersâ€™s latest offer leaves open the possibility for future negotiations and possible job actions by union members in coming months.
The contract between the Newspaper Guild of New Yorkâ€“Communications Workers of America Local 31003 and UK-based Reuters expired in February 2003, but the terms have remained in effect as the two sides undertake contract negotiations. Guild president Barry Lipton said the vote shows that rank-and-file members and company officials remain far apart on a number of issues, including outsourcing of jobs and company-provided retiree health insurance.
"I hope they pay attention to the fact that virtually all of the employees found their offer unacceptable," Lipton told the Associated Press, promising to keep pressure on the company and refusing to rule out job actions.
The union authorized a strike in February by a 301-4 vote, and last month engaged in lunchtime rallies outside company offices protesting the direction negotiations have been going and a five-day byline strike, in which reporters refused to put their names on their work.
Reuters spokesperson Steve Naru expressed disappointment in the union vote, telling the AP, "I think our proposals certainly reflect the difficult economic environment that's existed over the past couple of years, and I think our proposals are fair and reasonable."
Both sides expect to continue negotiations soon.