June Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

President Pat Gormley called the meeting to order at 5:45 p.m., June 30, 2009 in the Guild’s new local office at 70 West Chippewa St., Buffalo.

Gormley lauded Turnbull for her work during the Guild’s recent move from its former location on Exchange Street. The owners of the Larkin also own the building on Chippewa.

The move, one of many cost-saving measures, was handled by a union mover at a cost of about $1,100. The Guild’s new lease at Chippewa includes monthly rent of $725, saving $825 per month on what the Guild was paying at Exchange. The new lease is a one-year committment; the renewal option is set at $800/month, but Turnbull said that the Larkin said that number was “negotiable.”

Motion/Second/Carried, Leiser/Heaney: To end the current five-year lease with Larkin at its Exchange building and pay the $6,000 buyout cost.

M/S/C Meyer/Fischer: To transfer $6,000 from the Defense Fund for the buyout of lease at Exchange building.

M/S/C Tan/Heaney: To sign a one-year lease at 70 West Chippewa at $725 per month.

M/S/C Leiser/Tan: To hire the mover.

M/S/C Heaney/Leiser: To transfer $21,000 from the Defense Fund for lost time and bargaining expenses.

Tan provided a Healthy Locals Committee update and said the Committee is seeking a way to make membership meetings more meaningful and more attractive to rank and file members as part of its initiative to make Guild leadership more accessible to its general membership.

The Healthy Locals Committee is currently conducting a survey of rank-and-file membership in order to best assess this; while the committee does this, Tan recommended the cancellation of the July and August membership meetings. The Executive Committee would continue to meet monthly; “you guys should be steering the ship — we need input and active direction from the executive committee.”

With the new offices at Chippewa, there was brief discussion about where to hold larger membership meetings. Possibilities include the cafeteria at Larkin’s building at Exchange (where larger meetings were held while our offices were within that building), the CWA office in downtown Buffalo, which includes a large meeting room. Turnbull and Gormley reported that The News rejected the Guild’s offer to pay a nominal fee for use of the auditorium at One News Plaza.

M/S/C Tan/Gniewecki: That the July and August Guild membership meetings be canceled, and that the next meeting be held Tuesday, Sept. 29; that the Executive Committee meet on a monthly basis on the last Tuesday of every month beginning in July, and that such meetings will be held in advance of the regular membership meetings when the Executive Committee and membership meeting dates coincide. The July and August Executive Meetings will be held at The News.

The survey will be collected this week; Tan said she has had trouble roping in all of the District Managers and surveys for those members have been dropped off recently.

Tan also provided a mobilization update.

Web site: The Guild Web site has been redesigned by editorial member Dan Kirchberger. This is a tremendous improvement upon the Guild’s former relationship with Mark Wisz (who Tan said was very helpful in the transition process). “During negotiations, every time I wanted to update the Web site, I had to call Mark … now we can update it directly.” The launch of the new site is expected to happen next week (July 6-12).

Hard copies of the Frontier Reporter will be posted on every bulletin board and will be made available to those who may not have Internet access.

An e-mail blast program (in which one message can be sent to multiple e-mails, namely all Guild members’ emails) that Wisz charged the Guild $370 for will be investigated by Kirchberger.

Kirchberger designed the site and will be a point person for any administering that will be done; Joe Popielkowski of Editorial will also be trained in administering the site, and other Guild members will be instructed in use of the site.

M/S/C Tan/Meyer: The Frontier Reporter, the Guild’s monthy newsletter, be converted to an online-only publication. That official membership meeting notices, now published in the Frontier Reporter, be published on the Buffalo Newspaper Guild’s homepage at least five days in advance of every meeting. That official meeting notices also be sent out by email to members at least five days in advance of every meeting.

LOGO: A new Guild logo has been designed by Guild member Adam Zyglis, a corresponding logo celebrating this year’s 75th anniversary of the Guild has also been included. Tan said Zyglis labored on the logo, trying to encompass more of a worldly look — representative of more than just the printed word. Polo shirts and T-shirts with the new logo are being looked into.

75th ANNIVERSARY PARTY: The committee has been trying to come up with ideas for a nice affair to celebrate a landmark anniversary while struggling with the limited funds available. The HSBC’s Harbour Club and Salvatore’s Italian Gardens are on a short list. The date is being discussed – some time from late fall to December. Early December would be an ideal time, said Tan.

Employee Free Choice Act update from Turnbull

Indications are that it will go up for a vote in the fall and passage looks likely, Turnbull said. She advised the Guild to start preparing beforehand to take advantage of the benefits of the act. Gormley urged members to familiarize themselves with the language of the act, which is being fought with millions of dollars by businesses. “Read it. Know what the truth is. It’s important,” said Gormley.

Labor-Management Council update from Heaney

The second meeting of the council, which was founded as part of the negotiations concerning The News’ layoffs/buyouts in early 2009, included discussions of online training for employees in editorial and classified.

The News reported that its revenues are down 20-30 percent from the same month one year earlier and that profits may be a quarter or a half of what they were ($19-22 million in 2008).

Heaney said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen spoke about the Internet. She agreed in principle with a lot of what Guild member Vince Chiaramonte had to say regarding online advertising. Gallagher-Cohen said the projections for online profit were altered for this year from $6 million down to under $5 million. The goal remains $10 million for 2010. A lot of the online advertising is now focused on behavioral targeting where ads are married with content (i.e. car ads with car stories).

Tan hoped that Dan Herbeck, who has an idea for a promotions initiative regarding how and why newspapers are important that features all of the aspects in which The Buffalo News benefits the community, would be able to attend one of the LMC’s next meetings.

M/S/C Gormley/Heaney to adjourn at 7:08 p.m

In attendance: Pat Gormley, Dick Fay, Bob Snyder, Dave Irwin, Chuck Fischer, Keith McShea, Kim Leiser, Sandy Tan, Brian Meyer, Tammy Turnbull, Bev Gniewecki, Susan Kelley, Jim Heaney, Henry Davis, Brian Connolly, Aretha Willis, Dan Kirchberger.

Excused: Phil Fairbanks, Felice McMillon, Pat Toepfer.