October Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010

Pat Gormley called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m, Oct. 13, 2010 at One News Plaza, second-floor meeting room.

Committee reports:


Vice President for Grievances Phil Fairbanks reported on a meeting last week; the Guild is working on an agreement on The News’ scheduling of DMs on holidays and is hoping for a final draft to approve at the Nov. meeting.

A grievance involving jurisdiction in editorial remains outstanding.

A new grievance in classified has been filed over a suspension issued by The News for an employee’s excessive use of the Internet. The basis for the grievance is that the employee, and other employees, were told by The News that the Internet use in question was perfectly allowable. The grievance has been filed and the Guild is seeking approval for arbitration short of a settlement with the company.

Motion/Second/Carried Leiser/Fairbanks to approve arbitration for the grievance involving the suspension of an employee due to excessive Internet usage.


Fairbanks, reporting for Heaney, said there was a spirited discussion over minority hiring; The News scaled down its projected profits, which now are in line with its initial profit projections from the year.


Sandy Tan reported that she and Geoff Nason are working on updating the messenger list; preparations are under way for the holiday party, which will take place Thursday, Dec. 16 at Pearl St. and will feature a rousing performance by the band Jeff Simon’s Desk.


Turnbull, reporting for Snyder, said that Turnbull, Snyder and Heaney will be sitting down to work on the budget and will definitely have one for the local’s approval next month.

Health care negotiations:

Henry Davis reported that it became clear last week that there would be no early bargaining as it relates to health care.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s proposal to The News included an increase of 20 percent, which was “just oo big a number to get at — there was no chance to lower that,” said Davis. “We had gone to BCBS and were showed a plan that would reduce our costs by 10 percent, and we were hopeful that we would be able to reduce that by even more.

“When it came time for BCBS’ 2011 rates, the plans that somehow were going to produce savings, did not produce savings.”

Davis described the situation as “very frustrating. … The company would have been willing to work with us. … To make matters worse, Independent Health couldn’t even compete.”

“We’re going to have to wait until next year. We’ll regroup, do our research again and see what our options are. We’re going to have options. We’re going to look at every possible option.”

Davis credited The News for their willingness to negotiate health care; however, the health care companies estimates made any possible negotiations to reduce costs moot.

“We have a lot of homework to do,” said Davis. “We need to research alternatives. … The Guild has managed this well over the last 20 years. We’re in a great position — it’s just getting harder to stay there.”

Davis said a bargaining brief would be sent out by the end of the week.

Turnbull notified the committee of the CWA WNY council scholarship and that the form would be available on the Web site and throughout the building.

M/S/C to adjourn at 6:22 p.m. Meyer/Besecker

Present: President Pat Gormley, Vice President/Mobilization Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Phil Fairbanks, Secretary Keith McShea, Beverly Gniewecki (classified), Dick Fay (DMs), Henry Davis (editorial), Sue Kelley (editorial), Brian Meyer (editorial), Geoff Nason (editorial), Aaron Besecker (editorial), Denise Gee (editorial), Kim Leiser (inside circulation) Tammy Turnbull. 

Excused: Treasurer Bob Snyder, Felice McMillion (ABC), Carol Jones (ABC), Jim Heaney (editorial).