Guild members gain a voice in The News’ future

There’s not much to celebrate about the Guild’s recent settlement with The Buffalo News, an agreement marked by layoffs, buyouts and give backs.

One of the exceptions is a new labor-management committee designed to give Guild members a greater voice in the future of the newspaper.

The panel will meet for the first time this month.

“This LMC provides a forum for the Guild to remain updated on the paper’s fiscal condition, rather than waiting for the once-a-year State of the News meeting,” said Jim Heaney, a member of the Guild bargaining team and the driving force behind the new committee.
Heaney said the LMC also “gives us an opportunity to share our ideas on ways The News can innovate.”

The committee, according to the agreement, will meet each month to:
* Review The News’ finances, including monthly revenue and expenses projections.
* Discuss ideas for developing and adopting new training opportunities.
* Entertain operational improvements, promotional campaigns and revenue initiatives.

Guild members who want to take part in the committee – the make-up will change on a month-to-month basis – should contact Heaney, who will act as the Guild’s chief representative on the panel.

The committee grew out of a desire by Guild members to have a greater voice in the paper during these tough economic times.

Guild leaders also view it as a vehicle for giving rank-and-file union members a opportunity to promote their individual ideas for improving The News.

“This committee has huge potential to improve communication, and more importantly, to share ideas and work collaboratively on projects that can secure The News’ long-term future,” said Sandy Tan, the Guild’s vice president of mobilization and a member of the bargaining team.
In preparation for the meeting, the Guild asked The News to come with financial reports on the paper’s performance in March and April.

The new committee coincides with a like-minded effort in the newsroom, where Editor Margaret Sullivan is overseeing a “Reinvent the Newsroom” initiative.

Nearly the entire newsroom is involved in the effort.