The Guild is betting its members will “buy in” to its latest engagement initiative designed to promote Guild activities, events, contests and fun facts. An informational playing card is being distributed each week to Guild members until a complete 52-card deck is reached.
So far, cards have announced a trivia contest, a local meeting and information on the contract and benefits offered through CWA and the Union Plus program, among others.
District manager Kathy Kapanek won the Week One contest when she correctly named the date of the union’s founding (Jan. 21, 1934) and final vote by which The Buffalo Evening News joined the union in 1943 (69-65). Kapanek was one of many Guild members who entered the contest. Her name was randomly drawn at the last general membership meeting for a $25 gift card prize.
“The vision for the playing cards is that we could utilize them weekly up until the expiration of our current contract — not only as a build up to negotiations, but also as informational, fun, trivia question pieces,” said Local Service Representative Tammy Turnbull.
The idea for playing cards resulted from the Leadership Training Weekend the Guild hosted in June. An exercise during the workshop asked participants to identify a problem in their union and come up with an action plan to solve it, said Turnbull.
Renee Mikler, Chief Steward in the Classified Advertising Department of The Buffalo News, questioned how to keep members engaged when the Guild is not in contract negotiations. Turnbull and Sandy Tan, the Guild’s Vice President of Mobilization, joined Mikler and came up with the idea of the weekly playing cards.
Tan contacted our union printer and graphic artist Adam Zyglis designed a template for the front of the card, which includes the Guild logo. The reverse side is printed weekly with a different message.
The playing card project is challenging because of the tight turnaround for each card every week, Tan said.
“We have to settle on an idea for the card, design it, have it printed, shipped and then distribute it to every Guild member in the company — all over the course of four days,” she said.
Through anecdotal interactions, Tan said many members are collecting their cards.
“This is a really good way to let people know how busy the Guild is, getting work done on a regular basis,” she said.
Tan said she has been surprised at how often the cards have contained timely Guild news to pass on to the membership. In the past, some of this information would simply not have been shared with members because it’s not considered important enough to merit a flier.
“Now, we have a built-in way to keep everyone much more informed about everything the Guild does,” she said.
All 13 ranks of each of the four French suits (clubs, diamonds, spades and hearts) will be issued by July of next year, when the Guild will be negotiating a new contract deal. Tan said she looks forward to playing with a complete deck when all cards are issued and is open to suggestions for future cards.
An image of each card will be added weekly here as it is released: