February 2013 Executive Committee Minutes

President Henry Davis called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m, Feb. 19, 2013 at The News’ second-floor meeting room, One News Plaza.


* Committee Reports: Finance, Mobilization, Grievance/Contract Administration
* New Business:
Review of The Buffalo News’ revise of the Electronic Communications Policy to include new guidelines on Social Media
Update on 2013 Bargaining
Nominate and vote on delegates for the TNG Sector Conference and CWA Convention in Pittsburgh, PA in April 2013
Approve member hospital reimbursement
* Old Business

Finance report from Kim Leiser. “We passed our audit with flying colors,” she said. The Guild bank account is over $24,000 with over $572,000 in the defense fund.

Sandy Tan had nothing to report for mobilization.

Davis reported that the News, in cooperation with the Guild, is revising its electronic communications policy to include social media. It will be discussed at the local meeting Wednesday. Copies of the policy were distributed.

“I think generally speaking it is a very good outcome,” said Davis. “It is as minimal as policy as you can get. The premise of this policy is ‘we trust you.’ Use good judgement, common sense, apply journalistic principles and ethics, and be careful.”

Davis noted that the Washington Post’s social media policy totals 18 pages.

Davis provided a bargaining update.

An “odd situation” has developed in that Blue Cross/Blue Shield is refusing to give The News (management) information about high-cost cases, information that is necessary for other insurers to accurately bid on that business. “Other companies have to artificially up their bids to factor in that risk,” Davis said. Blue Cross is contending that it is not providing the information because it is protecting the privacy of patients; however, the information does not include personal information.

“Both sides are kind of stuck,” Davis said of negotiations. “The News has hired a health care consultant; hopefully they can help rectify the situation.”

The situation is delaying the negotiation process at this time.

Another wrinkle this year is that Dan Farberman has left the News.

Davis and Tan said the Guild survey of members would be done again, using the survey from two years ago with minor tweaking.

Motion/Second/Carried Fairbanks/Tan to nominate the following delegates to conferences in Pittsburgh:

TNG Sector Conference: Kim Leiser, Henry Davis, Felice McMillion, Tammy Turnbull
CWA: Kim Leiser, Henry Davis; Tammy Turnbull alternate

M/S/C Leiser/Harrington to agree that The News bring back Alan Pergament to part-time employment as a columnist covering national and local television and radio in columns and his blog; both parties agree that Pergament brings special knowledge to the post that would benefit The News; it is a part-time position in which Pergament returns as a guild member (but does not return to his seniority) and will fall under 1,000 hours per year; and that the outside activity clause will be enforced. (the specific language of the agreement is in a separate letter).

Fairbanks reported on the Guild’s outreach effort after talking with Chief Stewards in various departments. He said that while there had been some original notions about setting up a gathering outside work, that nearly all would prefer inhouse meetings due to constraints in and outside the office.

Tan is seeking ideas, snippets of the contract, that can be used for the playing card campaign.

Henry raised the issue of attendance at executive meetings; offering that extended absences over time conveys a message that attendance is not important. Henry said he and Tammy are working on a solution; and that perhaps the bylaws would have to be changed.

The committee discussed nonroutine payments and purchases and how those should be reported to the committee. An idea was to see what the best practices are for other nonprofit boards to see how their expenses are reported. Davis said “we will look into this.”

M/S/C Tan/Davis to adjourn at 6:44 p.m.

Attendance: President Henry Davis, Vice President/Mobilization Sandy Tan, Treasurer Kim Leiser, Secretary Keith McShea, office manager Tammy Turnbull, inside circulation delegate Tricia Clark, district manager chief steward Dick Fay, editorial delegates Mike Harrington, Denise Jewell Gee and Phil Fairbanks, editorial delegate/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley, Frontier Reporter/web site editor Joe Popiolkowski.

Excused: classified delegate Beverly Gniewecki, editorial delegate Aaron Besecker.

Absent: Vice President/Grievances Mark Sommer, Past president Pat Gormley, district manager delegate Brian Long, district manager delegate Bob Snyder, classified chief steward Renee Mikler, ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, editorial delegates David Robinson, nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick.

Local meeting: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at noon and 12:30 p.m. in the Buffalo News auditorium.

Next executive meeting: Wednesday, March 20.