AFL-CIO Guild Shop, Two Affiliated Units Have New CBAs

The 160-member Guild unit at AFL-CIO headquarters is working under a new 30-month collective bargaining agreement that immediately paid one week of salary as a signing bonus.

The contract for the labor federation’s professional employees, which runs to March 31, 2018, expired Sept. 30, but had 120 days of retroactivity; a tentative agreement was reached in late January, and the pact was ratified in February.

Meanwhile, another Guild unit that is headquartered in the AFL-CIO building in Washington also has a new contract. Three dozen Guild members employed by Working America have signed a three-year deal that provides coverage through Feb. 28, 2019.

This is the third Guild contract at Working America, which was organized as a WBNG shop in late 2009. The organization is the “Community Affiliate of the AFL-CIO,” created in 2003 to “fight for good jobs and a just economy for working families.”

“We made gains in workplace flexibility, with telework and flexible start times,” said Cet Parks, WBNG Executive Director. “And although we agreed to a reduction in Working America management’s contribution to the 401(k) plan, we were able to get a higher match. We also were able to maintain step increases in the new deal.”

The considerably smaller unit – the CBA language lists five Guild-covered positions – at the Central Labor Council for the nation’s capital, the Metropolitan Washington Council (MWC), also has a new contract, an agreement that began Jan. 1, 2016, and expires Dec. 31, 2017.

The latest MWC contract was negotiated by the outgoing president of the AFL-CIO regional organization, Joslyn N. Williams. Holding the top elective position there since 1982, Williams’ earlier resume included a stint with the AFL-CIO’s Department of Field Mobilization.

That department’s employees are among those covered by the international labor-federation’s new Guild contract.

The NewsGuild has represented AFL-CIO professional employees since the 1956 merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The CIO News editorial staff brought their Washington Newspaper Guild contract with them when they moved to the combined labor-federation headquarters.

The Guild and the Communications Workers of America had both been in the CIO prior to the merger. [Oct. 2000 Guild Forum story]