November Guild local meeting meeting minutes

President Pat Gormley called meeting to order at 5:40 p.m, Nov. 17 at One News Plaza.

Committee reports:

Phil Fairbanks discussed resolvements of past grievances and presented them for approval by the local.

M/S/C Heaney/Tan to approve the settlement regarding holiday scheduling for district managers, that full and part-time DMs will have access to holiday shifts.

M/S/C Heaney/Tan to approve the settlement regarding offering $4,000 car loans to part-time district managers.

M/S/C Leiser/Davis to approve sending the grievance regarding a disciplinary case of a guild member in classified to arbitration; the case involves excessive Internet use but there is a case of disparate treatment of employees on this issue.     

Sandy Tan reported on the mobilization committee. The committee met earlier today and is aiming for a flyer and a “Viva Las Vegas” sticker to be available on Monday regarding the News executive team meeting in Las Vegas for some kind of retreat.  The Guild messenger list and contact lists are being updated to ensure our communication network is intact.

The Frontier Reporter position and the Webmaster position are to be combined into a single job description and Geoff Nason has expressed interest in the position.

Tan encouraged members to purchase tickets for the Holiday Party Dec. 16 at Pearl Street Grill, which will include an appearance by the Guild band “Jeff Simon’s Desk.” Tan said the band would “rock the house.”

Jim Heaney discussed The News’ financial situation after it was discussed at the previous LMC meeting.  Heaney discussed the 2011 budget. There are significant savings due to the relocation of our office and the reorganization of Tammy Turnbull’s health plan.

“We’re economizing wherever we can with dwindling membership and dwindling dues,” said Heaney.

Some stipends (for stewards and committee chairs) were cut, including Treasurer by $1,000. The Guild trimmed stipends from $22,000 to just over $15,000 and Heaney said the figure could possibly go down in the future.

M/S/C Gryta/Davis to approve budget.

Heaney reviewed the last LMC meeting, which included a discussion regarding the News’ editorial hiring practices in the light of the City Grill shooting and subsequent controversies. Heaney said that while the population of Erie County is 17 percent minority, The News as a whole is 11 percent minority with the Guild 12 percent minority; the executive committee is 100 percent white and that management including levels below the executive committee is 96 percent white; the inside/outside circulation departments are 100 percent white; 27 of 29 partime district managers are white; in editorial, the last black journalist to be hired was nine years ago; that the decision-making editorial positions (not copy editors) are predominantly white; that the Guild paid for a diversity assessment/action plan 15 or so years ago, but when asked if The News had such a plan, Dan Farberman said, “We don’t have one.”

Heaney suggested the Guild look into reviving its human rights committee chair and that the Guild should make this a constructive issue in the coming year. “We need to do something,” Heaney said. “It is inexcusable to have a workforce that looks the way it looks.”

 New business:  Nominations for local officers, stewards and the executive committee:

Henry Davis was nominated for President by Sandy Tan. “Henry has been on every bargaining committee and has been primarily responsible for shaping the health coverage we enjoy now.”

Fairbanks seconds. One vote for Davis.

“Take a picture,” outgoing President Pat Gormley said. “You’ll look different in a couple of years.”

Sandy Tan was nominated for Vice President for Mobilization by Phil Fairbanks. Gryta seconds. One vote for Tan. Phil Fairbanks was nominated for Vice President for Grievances by Jim Heaney. Tan seconds. One vote for Fairbanks.Keith McShea was nominated for Secretary by Henry Davis. Kenny Giancola seconds. One vote for McShea. Kim Leiser was nominated for Treasurer by Phil Fairbanks. Clark seconds. One vote for Leiser.

Executive board nominations are done as groups.

Denise Gee, Brian Meyer, Dave Robinson, Jim Heaney and Aaron Besecker are nominated as Editorial representatives by Phil Fairbanks; Tan seconds. Dick Fay, Brian Long, Bob Snyder are nominated as circulation/district manager representatives by Pat Gormley; Fairbanks seconds. Tricia Clark nominated as inside circulation representative by Kim Lesier; Heaney seconds. Beverly Gniewecki nominated as classified representative by Pat Toepfer; Heaney seconds. Carol Jones nominated as ABC representative by Felice McMillion; Leiser seconds.

 Stewards are also nominated by department.

Geoff Nason and Sue Kelley nominated as editorial stewards by Davis; Heaney seconds. Dick Fay nominated as circulation/district manager steward by Fairbanks; Tan seconds. Kim Leiser nominated as inside circulation steward by Clark; Fairbanks seconds. Felice McMillion nominated as ABC steward by Jones; Davis seconds. Gniewecki, Jackie Kuma and Renee Mikler nominated as classified stewards by Leiser; second Heaney.

M/S/C Nason/Tan to approve the executive committee and local membership meeting dates already approved by the executive committee. Executive Committee meetings on Tue. Jan. 25, Wed. Feb. 16, Wed. March 16, Tue. April 12, Wed. May 18, Wed. June 15, Tue. July 19, Wed. Aug. 17, Wed. Sept. 14, Wed. Oct. 19, Tue. Nov. 15, Wed. Dec. 13; General Membership meetings on Wed. Jan. 26, Wed. April 20, Wed. July 20, Wed. Nov. 16.

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