Call for greater collaboration comes out of Newspaper Guild sector conference

Sharing resources in more austere times was one of the major themes to come out of the recent Newspaper Guild sector conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Buffalo Newspaper Guild sent four delegates to the conference, which attracted about 100 Guild representatives from across North America.

The national organization urged delegates, especially those from stronger locals, to examine ways they can assist weaker Guild unions — everything from offering advice on mobilization campaigns to considering mergers.

The call for greater collaboration comes in response to the loss of members and weaker finances at many locals across the country.

Despite our decline in membership in recent years, The Buffalo Newspaper Guild is considered one of the healthier and more active locals. As such, we’re looking at how we might help others, hopefully in a way that can be mutually beneficial.

The Newspaper Guild — which is also feeling the effects of fewer members and, as result, lower dues income — intends to make some short-term funding available to locals to help pay for novel collaborative efforts.

“Any potential project has to make sense for us, but we plan to take a leadership role if we can identify an appropriate collaboration and an interested partner,” said Henry Davis, president of The Guild.

As all of you know, the newspaper industry remains in turmoil, a situation that permeated the atmosphere at the conference. But there were a few morsels of optimism related to the challenge of making sure Guild locals survive and thrive.

Among other things, local staff representative Tammy Turnbull gave a well-received report about our mobilization and outreach efforts, including the playing cards you see every week and our current initiative to have Guild leaders meet members in informal get-togethers.

“We’re considered very good at mobilization and communication with members, and that’s a reflection of the great work by a core of people at our local,” said Davis.

The Newspaper Guild delegates also voted to develop training programs for locals.

The leadership training conference the Buffalo Newspaper Guild — in association with The Newspaper Guild and The Great Lakes District Council — conducted last year in East Aurora was held up as an example of what other locals should do. The three-day event here, the first-ever Guild training program aimed at developing new leaders, attracted 19 participants from the U.S. and Canada.