Four out of five Guild members think the union does a good job, according to a recent survey of members.
The Guild’s high approval marks contrast with the small number of union members – about 13 percent – who attended more than one local meeting the past year.
The results suggest that, while the Guild is viewed as effective, it needs to do a better job of involving members in the day-to-day operation of their union. Of the Guild’s 245 members, 145 took part in the survey by the union’s Healthy Locals Committee. The survey was conducted in June.
“It was important to us to get honest feedback from the majority of our members so we know what we’re doing well and what we need to work on,” said Sandy Tan, vice president for mobilization.
The survey asked Guild members a wide range of questions, from how they feel abut the union to who they turn to when they have a problem.
The results vary from department to department, but indicate the union is well regarded among the general membership.
Fifty-six percent of those who responded said the Guild did good work. Another 24 percent said it seems to get things done.
“Those who responded obviously recognize the important work the Guild does, but the results tell us that they also have some mixed feelings about the union and don’t always feel as connected as they should,” Tan said. “We have an obligation to address those issues.”
When members were asked how they feel about the union, three out of four said they feel positive or somewhat positive about the union.
An even larger percentage – 80 percent – said the Guild does a good job of responding to complaints.
The survey did reveal one challenge facing the union: The need to get more members involved in the organization.
Of those who responded, 41 percent said they never come to local membership meetings.
Many of those same Guild members – 71 percent – indicated they would attend local meetings if there were presentations on topics of interest, an idea the union is studying.
Members also said they would more likely go to meetings held at lunchtime or immediately after work, another proposal being considered by the Healthy Locals Committee.
“The main priority of the committee is to get people more engaged in our Guild,” said Local Service Representative Tammy Turnbull. “We need all hands on deck, and if people are disenfranchised, it may be an issue of leadership, or communication, or a combination of issues.”
The Guild’s approval ratings ranged from department to department with Editorial members giving the union much higher grades – 91 percent feel positive about the union – than members in Circulation, a unit hurt by layoffs and buyouts.
Among district managers, a department decimated by job cuts, only 45 percent of those who responded think the Guild is doing a good job.
The survey asked members about a wide variety of issues:
* More than half of those surveyed said they look forward to the challenge of working with new technology as the newspaper industry changes. About 35 percent said they didn’t know how technology would impact their jobs.
* Sixty eight percent of those surveyed read the Frontier Reporter, the Guild newsletter, and most of those like the old print version. The union made a decision to eliminate the print version as a way of saving money in the wake of declining membership. The Frontier Reporter remains online.
* More than four of every 10 members said they would take part in civic improvement projects sponsored by the Guild, another idea under study.