August Meeting Minutes

President Pat Gormley called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m, Sept. 1, 2009 at 70 West Chippewa St., Suite 611.

Mobilization Committee report by Sandy Tan:

  • Sales of Guild polo shirts have raised about $400 while candy bar sales have raised about $300, proceeds which will be used to subsidize the union’s 75th anniversary gala on Nov. 14 at the HSBC Arena Harbour Club.
  • The mobilization committee needs volunteers to help sell ads for a commemorative program as well as other tasks involved with the 75th anniversary gala.
  • The Healthy Locals survey is complete, and the results will be part of the backbone to hopefully reinvigorate the local as part of the Healthy Locals program. Tan and Tammy Turnbull said the Healthy Locals committee will be meeting throughout September.

There were 146 respondents to the survey, which is about 59 percent of the membership, a sign that the Guild messenger system is working well.

Among the data collected:

  • Thirteen percent responded that they have attended several local meetings in the last year. Seventy five percent said they would be more likely to attend a local meeting if it included topics of interest to me. This will be another key initiative of the Healthy Locals committee, to possibly restructure the meeting schedule in attempt of attracting more members.
  • An overwhelming number of Editorial employees had a positive impression of the Guild but other departments were lower, something the union and the Healthy Locals committee needs to be mindful of.
  • Seventy percent of respondents said they read the Frontier Reporter, and seven percent said they’ve looked at the Guild Web site. Since the Frontier Reporter is being exclusively published on the Web, the Guild needs to work on making more members aware of the Web site, which will be easier to do now that a blast email address has been created.
  • Tan said it is extremely important that each department find a representative to serve on the Healthy Locals committee.
  • Turnbull said the Healthy Locals committee is aimed at getting more members plugged in to meetings and becoming more a part of the Guild. This may involve changing the structure of when meetings are held, which would mean changing bylaws, which would all come as part of a recommendation to the Executive Committee.

“The main priority of the committee is to get people more engaged in our guild. [Nowadays] 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.”

Davis asked if there are other locals going through this process that we could compare ourselves to. Turnbull said that the Buffalo Guild is one of five nationally that has completed the survey as part of the Healthy Locals process, which is a national Newspaper Guild initiative.

  • Tan reported on Margaret Sullivan’s Reinventing the Newsroom meeting of Tuesday, Aug. 25, during which Sullivan relayed the latest financial information. Sullivan said that while former projections said the News would lose money starting in 2011, new projections forecast the News would lose money starting next year (2010).
  • Web site update: The site continues to progress, with only photos needed to be added to the site.
  • Tan made a motion that the Guild creates a stipend for Guild Webmaster because of the importance of the Web site in the Guild’s future. She cited substantial savings the Guild has made since the Web site has been taken over by Guild member Dan Kirchberger, who has not asked to be paid. The Guild paid an outside contractor $594.62 in 2008 and $2,553.38 in 2009 to maintain the Web site; the Guild now pays nothing. Tan’s proposal, based on current stipends the Guild pays (distributed in a handout — see footnote), was $250.

After the objection of Jim Heaney of the finance committee, who stressed the Guild’s financial hardships, there was discussion of modifying the motion, so that it would state that the Guild would create a stipend for a Guild Webmaster, with an amount to be determined in the near future (notably after the Finance Committee’s budget report at the September executive committee meeting).

After a further objection, the following motion was passed:

Guild Webmaster will be considered for a stipend after a restructuring of the current stipend structure by the finance committee. Motion/Second/Carried Tan/Meyer.

  • Tan reported that hard copies of The Frontier Reporter have been made available to members via bulletin boards throughout the building.
  • Tan said that one part of the 75th anniversary gala will be a printed program, in which the mobilization committee will be soliciting advertisements as another fundraiser to subsidize the event. She asked the executive committee for advice on whether politicians and/or businesses could be solicited for ads. The executive committee advised that politicians not be solicited but other businesses could.

Health care 2010

Turnbull said The News would be meeting with Community Blue in the near future to review the program’s usage statistics; The News and the Guild would soon be meeting to discuss those numbers and to set the stage for 2010 health care bargaining.

A recommendation was made that a committee be formed at the September Guild meeting, one that will partake in these initial meetings wit the idea that the same committee will bargain during the 2010 health care negotiations.

Next meeting

The next executive meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 29 at noon at The News (either the fifth floor cafeteria or second-floor meeting room). The next local membership meeting will be later on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at a place to be determined (either the local office on Chippewa Street or possibly the CWA office on Elk Street).

Labor Day parade

This event had formerly been organized by the late Jay Bonfatti, and the 2008 parade was a tribute to Bonfatti. This year the event fell through the cracks, but the committee stressed that the Guild should march in the parade. Tan said she would take the matter to the Mobilization Committee, which was scheduled to meet the next day (Wednesday, Sept. 2).

M/S/C Gormley/Irwin to adjourn at 6:32 p.m

In attendance: President Pat Gormley, Vice President/Contract Enforcement Dick Fay, Vice President/Mobilization Sandy Tan, Treasurer Bob Snyder, Secretary Keith McShea, Felice McMillon, Kim Leiser, Brian Meyer, Henry Davis, Phil Fairbanks, Carol Jones, Aretha Willis, Tom Buckham, Carolyn Raeke, Jim Heaney, Brian Connolly and Dave Irwin.

Excused: Chuck Fischer and Beverly Gniewecki.