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AP union says no tweeting

Mark Milian
  • AP reporters' labor union is urging members not to promote stories on social networks
  • Expect to see less links from AP reporters on Twitter and Facebook early next week
  • To complement the social-media boycott, union workers will hold rallies

(CNN) -- In dicey union negotiations, it seems the modern silent protest is an embargo on tweeting.

Representatives for the News Media Guild are urging union employees of the Associated Press not to promote their stories on Facebook or Twitter early next week.

Reporters often volunteer to spread links out of good will for their employer or for obvious narcissistic reasons. The labor union is discouraging people whose job explicitly entails using social-networking services from participating in the boycott.

Executives for the AP wire services and the News Media Guild will reconvene starting on Monday to resume contract negotiations, said Tony Winton, the union's president.

"We're trying to basically communicate through social media the unity of our group in trying to negotiate a fair contract with AP," said Winton, an AP reporter currently taking a leave of absence.

An AP spokesman declined to comment for this story. Later, another spokesman for the organization said the AP sent a memo to staff late on Thursday. The letter says the AP has cooperated with the union but that declines in the newspaper industry put the wire agency in a tight position.

CNN formerly subscribed to the AP wire service, but that business relationship ended last year.

To complement the internet silence, the guild is also helping to organize rallies at AP bureaus, according to an email from a union organizer that was obtained by the Poynter Institute. In the past, AP reporters have withheld their names from appearing in their stories' bylines.

The social-media protests will take place on Monday and Tuesday, during the next set of in-person negotiations between the two parties.

Promoting stories online, while valuable, is generally not a formally outlined obligation for most reporters. So the union is using it as a bargaining token.

"There's a timing and a flow in the way things go," Winton said. "It's not like a continuous process where you lock yourself in a room, and you make sausages together."


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