The News Media Guild, the labor union representing Associated Press staffers, said in a Wednesday post that the AP declined to meet earlier that day to discuss its "refusal to issue dismissal pay" to political reporter Bob Lewis and editor Norman Gomlak.
The two journalists were fired Monday in response to an erroneous Oct. 9 report claiming that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe lied during a federal investigation. The Guild does not a represent a third staffer fired, editor Dena Potter, because she held a management position.
The Guild, which earlier filed a grievance for Lewis and Gomlak's reinstatement, wrote Wednesday on the dismissal pay issue:
The contract says the company may refuse dismissal pay for a limited number of reasons: proven financial dishonesty, gross insubordination, gross neglect of duty or gross misconduct or where discharge is provoked for collecting dismissal pay. AP has not to date specified the reason for the denial of dismissal pay saying only they are not eligible for it.
Guild president Martha Waggoner said Wednesday that the "AP's refusal to meet with the Guild is an embarrassment to a company that demands openness from others but won't abide by those principles for its internal business."
The AP has not publicly discussed the firings, citing a policy not to comment on personnel matters, or issued a company-wide memo explaining management's decision.
On Monday, a regional AP editor sent a short memo to Virginia and West Virginia staffers that simply acknowledged Lewis and Potter "have left the AP," two hours after HuffPost reported they were fired.