Feb. 2011: Executive Committee minutes

President Henry Davis called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m, Feb. 16, 2011 at One News Plaza, second-floor meeting room.

Davis said the company has said The News’ finances were very poor in the first quarter and The News notified the Guild that there would be another round of buyouts this quarter, but they had no further details other than that the buyouts would not be tied to pensions.

Davis also said the company informed the Guild that it was not interested in negotiating until after the first quarter, which would be after March. The News said it was better to wait due to the instability of the finances; that it would be better to wait and see in April.

Davis said the Guild bargaining committee will meet in March 16 to prepare for negotiations and that a survey of members would be conducted in order to get a feel of the concerns of each department.

Tammy Turnbull and Kim Leiser reported on their trip to the Newspaper Guild’s sector conference in Orlando:

The four-day (Feb. 3-6) conference was “jam-packed” and represenation from locals was very heavy; the only locals unable to make it were the smallest ones or ones who had their travel affected by snowstorms.

There was a lot of business conducted because there will not be another meeting until 2013. The emphasis was put on growing the union through organizing; “a union that is not growing is dying.”

Sandy Tan gave a report on mobilization:

Davis began by lauding the mobilization committee for holding an informational session for part-time members. “I considered it a success and want to thank those who participated.”

Tan: “I’m really glad we did it, and it is how we should welcome new members in the future. Henry welcomed the members; Phil gave a history of The Guild and tailored his comments to what we’ve done for part-timers; Tammy spoke about benefits.” Tan spoke on involvement in the Guild.

“It was very successful in having a good program format,” said Tan, “and it was enlighting for us.”

Tan noted that any future events geared towards part-timers, specifically the part-time district managers, perhaps should not be held on a Sunday because turnout was not as good as it could have been. The whole city office of 20-some-odd people could not attend due to delays in the Sunday paper and called and apologized for not making it.

She noted the people that were there seemed glad to be there and learned a lot and said any prior contact with the Guild had been nonexistent.

The program is something that should be done on an annual basis, she said.

The point was raised that Saturday might be better day — a lighter work day — to attract more people to a meeting.

Tan said a mobilization meeting was held earlier in the day, with brainstorming done on slogans and themes. Some health-care specific strageties and slogans will be a focus. She said the bargaining committee and mobilization committee would be meeting together.

Tan said Aaron Besecker was working on getting phone magnets distributed to members; the magnets list contact people in every department.

Tan also said the Guild welcome packet needs to be updated since it hasn’t been updated in decade.

The email blast system and the Web site were being refurbished so those tools will soon be available to communicate with members.

Leiser reported that financially things are going well with communication having improved within the Guild.

Fairbanks reported on greivances:

The grievance regarding the suspension of a classified worker for Web use was settled with the company. There had been a two-day suspension; the settlement resulted in the employee getting their two days of pay back and a written warning was issued.

Fairbanks stressed that The News has made it known that this kind of thing (excessive use of the Web on work hours) will be dealt with much more heavy-handed in the future. “People know now,” said Fairbanks, “so they shouldn’t be abusing it.”

There is an outstanding greivance regarding stringers in editorial and the Guild will probably file for arbitration before bargaining.

A new grievance issue revolves around an editorial member being suspended indefinitely for gross misconduct. The Guild is investigating the issue to ensure that the member is being represented fairly.

Jim Heaney reported that there have been no Labor Management Committee meetings despite the Guild’s attempts to arrange them.

New business:

A member submitted bill for hospilization.

Motion/Second/Carried Leiser/Fairbanks that the Guild reimburse this member $400 of their $500 deductible.

M/S/C Davis/Heaney to adjourn at 6:27 p.m.

Attendance: President Henry Davis, Vice President Phil Fairbanks, Vice President Sandy Tan, Secretary Keith McShea, Treasurer Kim Leiser, ABC Chief Steward Felice McMillion, ABC delegate Carol Jones, classified chief steward Beverly Gwiewecki, district manager chief steward Dick Fay, editorial/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley, editorial/dayside chief steward Geoff Nason, editorial delegates Denise Gee, Jim Heaney, Brian Meyer, Aaron Besecker, inside circulation delegate Tricia Clark, at-large delegate Tammy Turnbull.

Excused: none.