Goals outlined for 2012

The Buffalo Newspaper Guild spent last year immersed in negotiations over buyouts and a new contract, but there’s little time to rest. This year promises to be busy, too.

We have established a handful of goals that we hope to accomplish or, at least, make significant headway on in 2012.

In general, the Guild wants to take steps to strengthen the organization and improve services to members.

Like the newspaper that employs us, The Guild needs a plan for the future that is balanced by realism about the state of the industry and a willingness to make adjustments along the way.

To accomplish this, some of our key initiatives will include:

  • Outreach to part-time employees: Part-time employees used to be a rarity in The Guild. Today, they comprise a substantial portion of our members, mainly in the Circulation Department. We conducted a special “Meet-and-Greet” program for new part-timers in 2011, and we will repeat the program again later this month, in addition to other initiatives. The Guild must learn more about the needs of part-time workers, and educate them about the benefits of Guild membership.
  • Training: The Guild needs to ensure it maintains a pipeline of good, stable leadership. To help, we are organizing a leadership skills conference in Buffalo for our members, as well as for representatives from Guild newspapers around the Great Lakes and Southern Ontario. We’re hopeful the conference also helps us build long-term connections with other newspaper Guilds. Keep an eye out later this year for what promises to be a very informative event.
  • Community service: Unions have a long history of community service, and it’s time for us to fulfill this role. We have established a Community Service Committee that is charged with identifying volunteering projects that the Guild can adopt. Community service can be a source of personal satisfaction. It can enhance the public image of The Guild and The News. Moreover, it can broaden opportunities to participate in the Guild beyond contract bargaining and other union business.
  • Strengthen the Guild: Our influence is proportional to the level of participation we receive from members. But as we get smaller, there is a smaller pool of people to participate in Guild activities and from which to recruit new leaders. Long term, we need to explore ways to maintain a robust organization, even non-traditional ideas, such as collaborations with others. The goal here is more of a call to action than a firm plan. If you have an idea of what we should be focusing on, you are welcome to bring it to our attention.
  • Labor-management relations: A labor-management committee formed in 2009 to give Guild members a greater voice in the future of the newspaper. We’re committed to renewing efforts to keep the committee going on a monthly basis and have identified a new person to chair it. At a minimum, the LMC provides a forum for the Guild to remain updated on the paper’s finances beyond the once-a-year State of The News presentations. It’s also an opportunity for our members to discuss ideas with The News.