May Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Jim Heaney and Keith McShea called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m, May 4, 2010 at One News Plaza, second-floor meeting room.

* Sandy Tan went over the early retirement/buyouts and discussed how departments were to make up for people who had left. ABC hired someone back full-time; the DMs hired five back part-time; editorial was awaiting a new reinvention-type report while a job share between Gene Warner and Maki Becker was being discussed.

* Bob Snyder discussed out the buyouts affected Guild dues. The 26 buyouts reflected a $468.20 loss per week with 20 weeks remaining in the fiscal year; over the course of a year it is a ballpark loss of about $20,000.

Snyder said that there was an “error in the budget” which actually resulted in the Guild having a surplus of $20,000, which would be offset by the buyout losses.

Snyder said that the Guild was financially strong due to the surplus and that the projected budget for the year was $213,000.

* Dave Robinson provided an update on the Guild’s search for new office space. Robinson, Tammy Turnbull, Kim Leiser and Johnathan Epstein scouted locations, including the Main/Seneca building (250 sq. feet, $250/month, pay parking, required 2- to 3-year lease), One News Plaza (discussions with The News “didn’t seem to go anywhere”) as well as at 567 Exchange, which was the top option.

The Avalon Development building had 500 sq. feet, a month-to-month lease, $250/month and free parking.

A move to Exchange St. would save about $6,900 per year, Robinson said.

Tammy Turnbull also has revamped the Guild’s photocopying/printing budget to reduce our expenses from $277/month down to $90/month.
Robinson said he, Epstein and Leiser were in agreement that Exchange was “the way to go.”

Turnbull said the CWA office and The News would still work for larger meetings.

Brian Meyer inquired about the lease and if it were possible to get a reduced rate at a longer time; Robinson said the month-to-month was a building-wide policy but that would be looked into.

Turnbull said that she was hopeful that the Guild would be able to reduce its files by converting documents into digital documents in the future, which would make moving easier and more efficient.

The committee thanked Robinson and Epstein for their efforts in researching the locations.

Motion/Second/Carried Fairbanks/Heaney to recommend to the local to go forward with the move to 567 Exchange St.

* Jim Heaney said a finance committee meeting would be set up for Wednesday; also that the handoff to from the treasurer’s duties to those that can be done by Turnbull needed to be moved forward on.

* Sandy Tan’s mobilization update:

  • Glad to report that Dan Herbeck is back in the office after some health problems and he is still interested in organizing a guild-sponsored cleanup in memory of Jay Bonfatti and that he was looking at next month (June).
  • Denise Jewell Gee and Renee Mikler put together a Q&A sheet for part-time guild members, a starting point for a pamphlet to be included in the welcome packet for part-timers. It is an effort to make sure part-timers know what their benefits are and why it is good to be in the Guild. Tan asked if Dick Fay and Aretha Willis could provide input that part-timers might be interested in from the perspective of their departments.
  • Tan wanted to acknowlege the mobilization committee for helping put the agenda together for the May local meeting as well as the handouts and postings promoting the meeting.

* There were no grievances to report but Dick Fay said he and Turnbull needed to get together to discuss the status of grievances.

Heaney reported on discussions regarding a stringer situation in editorial, where stringers have been used to replace the work of guild members who took the buyout; newsroom management has been unwilling to resolve the situation.

M/S/C Heaney/Fairbanks that the Executive committee recommend to the local to authorize the grievance committee to take the editorial stringer matter to arbitration and — if they deem necessary — to refer the matter to the proper authorities for investigation, including but not limited to the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor.

* The Executive Committee has potential openings with the expected loss of Tom Buckham to a buyout; he was a chief steward for editorial. There was already a vacancy on the Executive Board in editorial.

* Turnbull reported that the Cleveland Newspaper Guild regional conference was a very good experience for herself, Leiser and Aaron Besecker. The conference was very productive, very well-attended (more than 100 people), and very inexpensive. Besecker will be reporting on the conference at the local meeting.

Leiser noted that when she attended the crisis bargaining session, she was struck by how much worse conditions are for other guilds at other papers.

* Fairbanks will be discussing the “Incredible Shrinking Buffalo News” at the local meeting to discuss our challenges and why protecting jurisdiction is more important than ever in this challenging time.

* Tan noted that all Executive Committee positions are up for election in December and that the Guild needed to continue to get more individuals involved as we have in over the last few years.

M/S/C Heaney/Fairbanks: To adjourn at 6:24 p.m.

Attendance: Dave Robinson, Keith McShea, Aaron Besecker, Sandy Tan, Phil Fairbanks, Dick Fay, Bob Snyder, Jim Heaney, Tammy Turnbull, Henry Davis, Sue Kelley, Brian Meyer, Kim Leiser, Aretha Willis.

Excused: Beverly Gniewecki.