Draft September 2012 Executive Committee Minutes

President Henry Davis called the meeting to order at 5:38 p.m, Sept. 18, 2012 at The News’ second-floor meeting room, One News Plaza.

Motion/Second/Carried Tan/Popiolkowski to approve the June executive committee meeting minutes.

Henry Davis discussed the Nov. 2 Guild executive committee planning session; he is seeking feedback about the event and looking forward to exchanging ideas and perspectives. He’s hoping it will be useful and interesting.

Mark Sommer reported on grievances.

The News has begun some use of call monitoring in classified and inside circulation without notifying the Guild. Apparently The News has installed recording systems and may have begun to use them already. This is something that is supposed to be bargained. A meeting has been scheduled with Dan Farberman to discuss.

Sandy Tan reported on mobilization. The first three of the Guild playing cards set are out. Five people responded to the contest on part one. She is seeking ideas for the remaining 49 cards. This week’s card discusses union discounts on Regal movie tickets. CWA membership cards will be distributed soon; members can use those to get discounts through various programs.

Through anecdotal interactions, Tan said many members are collecting their cards. “It’s been great from my perspective. … This is a really good way to let people know how busy the Guild is, getting work done on a regular basis.”

Kim Leiser reported on finances.

Leiser said the Guild has $27,500 in the bank. She said she will have a more complete report and figures for next year’s budget at the next executive meeting.

M/S/C Davis/McShea two hospital authorizations for members.

Old business

Davis reiterated how he thought the executive committee retreat will be a helpful one: it will be an opportunity to talk about the Guild, its issues now and the future, and what we might do about them. He hopes the meeting, outside the office and in a comfortable setting, will help the dialogue and exchange of ideas.

Tricia Clark reported that the Guild would be taking part in a fundraising walk for Breast Cancer. Fundraising from Guild members was useful but not necessary, she said; she also asked that members wear a Guild shirt if they were taking part in the walk.

New business

Davis said The News is interested in enacting a Social Media policy, one that is to be implemented for the entire company, not just the Guild. Davis said it will be bargained. The News’ proposal is overly broad in many areas; Davis said the Guild has been consulted with The Newspaper Guild representatives to see how other papers and guilds have handled this. The Guild is to meet with The News on Sept. 28 to offer its proposal. The Social Media policy would address individuals’ use of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Davis said The News’ policy did not read like it was made for a company that publishes a newspaper and a web site.

He addressed the importance of social media for those in editorial:

“Social media is a vital part of our work, not just something we do on the side. … It’s a vital tool for reporting, sourcing, stories, for promoting the paper, engaging readers … The News should be encouraging us [to take part in social media] and trust our judgement. It does carry risk and responsibility.”

It was noted that newsroom management did not have any input into The News’ draft of its policy.

Davis said The News has mailed out pension offers to former employees, those who took the buyout but who are currently not collecting their pension. They are owed a pension but not collecting it. The News is offering those employees who took the buyout who are not currently collecting their pension a lump sum cash payment of the present value of the pension, rather than receiving their pension in installments when they turn 65.

It is an attempt, Davis said, by the company to reduce expenses; they don’t have to track people, they don’t have to send out letters. The company won’t be paying any less to employees, they pay the present value of the pension. Actuaries figure out the number. Davis has asked Rick Schroeder for his general advice on the matter. The Guild will put a notice up on our website that will offer people general advice on how to handle it. The payout depends on how long you worked here, how old you are, survivor benefits, etc.

Sandy brought up the point of equipment in the newsroom. More and more reporters are being asked to do things like live blog, or to blog in general, but there are simply not enough laptops for everyone. She said she knows of several cases of guild members who have bought their own laptops to conduct word for The News; meanwhile, the contract states that employees will be provided equipment to do that job.

A discussion yielded the suggestion that the Guild figure out how many members are using laptops issued by The News and how many have been using their own equipment.

The discussion also included cell phones and smartphones. Many editorial guild members use their phones constantly on the job without much, if any, compensation since many calling and data plans are unlimited.

It was noted that there is a policy in place for district managers who used their personal cell phones; that they are partially compensated in some way for their cell phone costs.

New members: Dave Williams, Josh Sullivan, Paul Mueller (part time district managers); and Bridget Riley (classified).

M/S/C Davis/Sommer to adjourn at 6:22 p.m.

Attendance: President Henry Davis, Vice President/Mobilization Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Mark Sommer, Treasurer Kim Leiser, Secretary Keith McShea, office manager Tammy Turnbull, classified delegate Beverly Gniewecki, inside circulation delegate Tricia Clark, district manager chief steward Dick Fay, ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, classified chief stewart Renee Mikler, editorial delegates Mike Harrington, Denise Jewell Gee, Aaron Besecker and Phil Fairbanks and editorial delegate/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley, Frontier Reporter/Web site editor Joe Popiolkowski.

Excused: District manager delegate Bob Snyder.

Absent: Past president Pat Gormley, district manager delegate Brian Long, nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick, editorial delegate David Robinson.

Next executive meeting: Wednesday, Oct 17.