July 2011 Local Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 President Henry Davis called the meeting to order at 5:37 p.m, July 20, 2011 in The News first-floor auditorium.

 Motion/Second/Carried Tan/McShea to approve the June executive meeting minutes as published on the Guild website, pending the addition of new members. 

 Committee Reports


Tammy Turnbull provided a grievance update for Phil Fairbanks.

 For the grievance involving ABC and vacations, the Guild hopes to reach a settlement during contract negotiations. The Louise Continelli arbitration has been scheduled for Aug. 2. 


Sandy Tan reported on mobilization.

 The departure of Geoff Nason to the management position of web editor left several holes in guild leadership. Aaron Besecker will serve as Frontier Reporter editor/Guild website editor while Mike Pesarchick will become a nightside steward. 

Marian Needham is finishing a funding submission from our local to the CWA to fund our mobilization campaign and is confident we will receive some level of funding. 

New Business:

Henry Davis announced that the executive committee approved a $400 medical reimbursement for hospitalization.

 M/S/C Heaney/McShea that the Guild donate $200 to theTom Borrelli Memorial Golf Tournament for the sponsorship of two holes. This is the third straight year the Guild has sponsored two holes. 

  Henry Davis provided an update on bargaining.

 He described the negotiations over allowing editorial employees to return to work on a part-time basis after taking the current buyout order. There have been agreements reached on pay, seniority and how employees will be informed. The lone issue remaining is the issue of beat reporters and how work would be assigned to part-time reporters.

 The “other key issue is health insurance,” said Davis. He reiterated the information in the most recent bulletin relating to the Guild’s attempt to continue to find ways to reduce costs. This plan would include some cost-sharing, and would affect those who use health services the most. “It is a really good plan,”Davis said. “If you look at The News, 10 percent of the people account for 90 percent of the costs. Most things will pretty much remain unchanged.”

 “We would rather not have cost sharing, but we don’t have a choice between that and the status quo. It’s opposed to a company plan, and to have plan that would be catastrophic. We’re all fairly optimistic.”

 Sandy Tan provided a mobilization update. 

 “Just because you might only see table tents, stickers … that doesn’t mean that’s not a lot going on. We do have an extensive strategy that we’ve planned. We have short-term and long-term things that we are planning.”

 “The Guild has purchased lapel pins and we will be asking people to wear them every day,” Tan said. “With how our dress code varies, this is a unifying thing that looks professional to those outside the building.”

 The Guild is looking into vinyl clings that members — and our supporters in the community — would be able to put on the back of their cars, reading, “I support the Buffalo Newspaper Guild.”

 Tan said the end of the contract will be marked in some way. 

 Dan Kirchberger and Aaron Besecker are working on a potential redesign ofThe Guild website home page. It will be just another avenue for the public to access information about us at the Guild. It will set the stage for a more public community campaign, including use of digital video.

 There are plans for a summer social gathering, perhaps at a Bisons game. 

 As negotiations go on, we will have more serious job actions prepared. We are planning for the possibility of a large-scale community campaign. We are trying to come up with as many creative ideas as possible. 

 The Mobilization Committee is also continuing to research and prepare for more aggressive in-house campaign strategies and updated members on various plans in the works.

 Tan showed a video that she and other Guild members produced regarding the current contract situation. 

 The video received a huge round of applause afterwards.  Tan said she hopes the video will be put up on the Guild website. 

 Highlights from the question-and-answer session:

 *The Guild has urged The News to seek a quote from Independent Health; however, they can’t bid unless they have the data, which has to be shared with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and BCBS won’t provide that data until 90 days after a quarter ends. 

 *The bargaining team will be going through The News’ “noneconomic” list it brought to negotiations. 

 *There are no plans to offer any concessions in the way of furloughs, pay cuts right now. As was learned two years ago, Guild members gave back cash out of our pocket; a year or two later, any jobs that we saved were lost. We can be a smaller workforce making the same amount or a smaller workforce making less. 

 Heaney/Tan M/S/C to adjourn at 6:20 p.m.

 Attendance: President Henry Davis, Vice President/Mobilization SandyTan, Secretary Keith McShea, editorial delegates Aaron Besecker, Denise Gee, Jim Heaney and Brian Meyer, inside circulation delegateTricia Clark, local service representative TammyTurnbull, Kelly Boquard, Scott Johnston, Dale Anderson, Randy Rodda, Jim Staas, Gene Warner, Kevin Noonan,Trey Bankhead, Cindy Syzmanski,Toni Ruberto, Michelle Kearns, Bruce Andriatch, Charlie Specht, Leah Samol, Christine Wylinski, Scott Scanlon, Joe Popiolokowski, Dan Kirchberger, Mark Mulville, Colin Dabkowski, Mark Sommer, Miguel Rodriguez, Mike Pesarchick, Steve Watson, Matt Gryta, Vince Chiaramonte, Milt Northrup, T.J. Pignataro.