July 2010 Executive Committee Meeting

Pat Gormley called the meeting to order at 5:45 p.m, July 14, 2010 at One News Plaza, first-floor auditorium.

Motion/Second/Carried Fairbanks/Kelley to approve the minutes of last month’s meeting as published online at buffaloguild.org.

Finance committee report from Jim Heaney:

He said he intends to present a budget in September for the 2011 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2010. He said many cuts were made last year in the face of the loss of dues; which will continue to be an issue. The buyouts cost the guild a loss of $400-$500 per week in dues, resulting in suggested cuts of $25,000 to $30,000 for the next year. Heaney said there will be an analysis of the stipends and he will propose the elimination of most of them.

Heaney said the $20,000 expense on annual stipends is in addition to our full-time staff person. “We just can’t afford $100,000 on people expenses. Stipends are the first place we’ll look.”

Heaney said there has been great savings in our new office lease; but he expressed concern for the safety of Tammy Turnbull in the new guild office. Turnbull said she would be the first person to mention if she felt uncomfortable in the new space.

Heaney stressed that too much money is being devoted to separate land and fax lines as well as on our cell phone package and it needs to be dealt with.

M/S/C Fairbanks/Tan to authorize the finance committee to purchase a less expensive landline and cell phone plan.
Heaney reported that Rick Schroeder said the Guild defense fund has almost recovered from the economic downturn of the last two years.

Mobilization report from Sandy Tan:

The mobilization committee met recently. A Bisons outing was quickly organized by Geoff Nason for July 21; Turnbull is working on finalizing a flyer for part-timers; Operation Welcome Wagon (to welcome newcomers, particularly interns, to the Guild and helping acclimate themselves to the News) is doing very well. Tan said the interns were very grateful because they said they had no orientation at all. “We will do a better job on getting on the ball sooner [with Welcome Wagon] now that we know what they’re doing.”

The Guild picnic on Aug. 14 was rescheduled to Como Lake Park in Depew; maps will be distributed to everybody. There is an effort to try and to get lawn games, and stuff for kids to do while there may be an appearance by the highly successful band Jeff Simon’s Desk.

Tan said there is good funding available in the committee’s refreshment lines and that some sort of prizes could be purchased. Long suggested that the recent retirees be recognized at the picnic.

New business:
Gormley reported that Dick Fay retired as vice president for grievances last month and Fay will continue on as chief steward for the district managers.

M/S/C Tan/Fay to appoint Phil Fairbanks to the VP position until the next membership meeting.
Vice President of Mobilization Tan, as per the bylaws, appoints a replacement Fairbanks as Frontier Reporter editor — the replacement is Henry Davis.

Turnbull discussed her health care situation and her efforts to find a more economical plan via several insurance companies.

M/S/C Heaney/Fay that the Davis-Fairbanks health care committee (consisting of Davis and Fairbanks) work with Turnbull to review heath insurance options and make changes as they see fit as soon as practical.
Davis presented the current health care situation and the options for the Guild relating to negotiating health care sooner (this year) rather than later (2011 when the contract is up). Davis favored negotiating a deal now, if possible, particularly with health care costs rising significantly in 2011 and beyond.

The guild has often stepped forward to negotiate health care costs, but Davis said “we’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit.” The negotiations would lead to members paying some portion of their health care. If we start this year, Davis said, it puts the Guild in a better bargaining position with the News interested in overall savings it can make this year (and beyond). Davis stressed that the Guild is still far better off than most private employees in the United States.

M/S/C Fairbanks/Heaney that a group of Davis, Turnbull and Marian Needham talk to The News and report back to the executive committee.

M/S/C Heaney/Davis to adjourn at 6:58 p.m.

Present: Pat Gormley, Sandy Tan, Bob Snyder, Keith McShea, Dick Fay, Henry Davis, Jim Heaney, Geoff Nason, Sue Kelley, Beverly Gniewecki, Tammy Turnbull, Phil Fairbanks, Aaron Besecker, Felice McMillion, Tricia Clark, Carol Jones, Brian Long, Marian Needham.

Excused: Pat Toepfer.

Respectfully submitted,
Keith McShea