Tentative Nov. 2013 Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

President Henry Davis called the meeting to order at 5:10 p.m, Nov. 12, 2013 at The News’ second-floor meeting room, One News Plaza.

Nominations for Guild officers and executive committee members

Kim Leiser nominates Henry Davis for president.

Motion/Second/Carried Leiser/Fairbanks.

Renee Mikler nominates Mark Sommer for vice president for contract enforcement.

M/S/C Mikler/Leiser.

Mark Sommer nominates Kim Leiser for treasurer.

M/S/C Sommer/Robinson.

David Robinson nominates Keith McShea for secretary.

M/S/C Robinson/Harrington.

Keith McShea nominates Renee Mikler (classified), Felice McMillion (ABC), Dick Fay (DMs), Susan Kelley (clerks/editorial) and Mike Pesarchik (nightside/editorial) as stewards.

M/S/C McShea/Robinson.

McShea nominates Bev Gniewecki (classified), Jackie Kuma (alternate/classified), Alexa Finn (alternate/classified), Mary Beth Pauline (inside circulation), Bob Snyder (DMs), Brian Long (alternate/DMs), Dave Robinson (editorial), Aaron Besecker (editorial), Denise Gee (editorial), Mike Harrington (editorial), Trey Bankhead (editorial), Sandy Tan (alternate/editorial) as executive committee members.

M/S/C McShea/Leiser.

McShea nominates Phil Fairbanks for vice president for mobilization.

M/S/C McShea/Mikler.

Davis offered gratitude to all those serving on the committee. “Thanks everyone,” he said. “Thanks so much to the new faces and old faces.”

Davis reported on the multi-district council hosted by the Buffalo Guild over the weekend.

There were about 40 participants and six speakers, three of whom were from Buffalo. Davis thanked Tammy Turnbull and Mark Sommer for their help. “They helped make this a huge success,” he said. “Guests were impressed with what we put on.” Turnbull lauded Davis for his role.

Sommer helped provide a surprise guest star Saturday afternoon with legendary songwriter Pete Seeger.

Davis discussed the overall theme of the event.

“Unions, not just in The Newspaper Guild, are on the decline,” said Davis. “As the number has declined, their influence has declined. … Rather than unionized workers setting the standard, corporations without unions like Wal-Mart are setting the standard — in newspapers, Gannett and Newhouse are setting the standard. It’s a race to the bottom. What can we do about it — how can we stop the race to the bottom.

“We have a responsibility as a guild, to try to think of some way around that. No one really knows.

“You just an’t go from contract to contract, little small personnel problem to the next, and putting out fires, while the foundation of the union is crumbling. It’s a recipe for disaster. The larger union movement can’t survive if we don’t worry about the larger picture.”

“Labor laws are being rewritten, the National Labor Relations Board has been rendered ineffectual. … The game is rigged. The laws and the regulations are being written and interpreted to kill unions.

“The message we heard from Larry Cohen and others is that it’s a fight we have to fight. We have to find ways to fight that fight.”

Committee reports

Sommer reported on grievances.

There continue to be a few issues concerning classified. The Guild had a meeting with Larry Baeryl and met with managers in classified regarding a few shifts starting later and related issues. Sommer reported that The Guild requested one shift to start earlier and management agreed; also that The Guild ask that these changes be delayed to Jan. 1 and management agreed. A Saturday shift is being eliminated and other shifts are being offered to that person. There are also issues regarding possible management efforts to “rein in the personality” of a worker in the department, as well as others. In inside circulation, someone is doing work that was taken away.

There will be a grievance caucus before Thanksgiving to look at these and various other issues.

Leiser reported on finances.

She handed out hard copies of this year’s budget, which the finance committee — which met prior to the executive meeting — is recommending approval of.

Leiser discussed a previously-discussed plan to pay any lost time costs out of the defense fund.

It is possible that The Guild would be able to apply for and receive a mobilization grant from the national guild(s).

Dave Robinson commended Leiser’s work on the budget. She has revamped the budget, not only in meeting the challenge of working with less funds, but by making it more understandable in a much more clear format that many committee members were pleased with.

M/S/C Fairbanks/Sommer to approve the budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year budget based on the recommendation of the finance committee.

Davis lauded Sandy Tan, who is stepping down as vice president for mobilization.

“She really was terrific,” he said. “The one and 10 (contact list), working on the web site, the mobilization efforts she did, her ability to get the troops moving, she was really good at it. She’s a person with a lot of ideas and she was always appreciated.”

Turnbull reported on this year’s holiday party, which will be Friday, Dec. 6 at the Century Grill.

It will be free for all members, tickets are $10 for retirees and $15 for guests.

Turnbull was enthused about the building, the two-room set up which will account for conversation and the band. Turnbull, Leiser, Davis and Joe Popiolkowski toured Century Grill. Davis said he hoped the committee would be in attendance and that all would encourage other members to attend.

Mike Pesarchik mentioned that a date had yet to be picked for nightside party.

M/S/C Davis/McShea to adjourn at 5:39 p.m.

Attendance: President Henry Davis, Vice President/Grievances Mark Sommer, Treasurer Kim Leiser, Secretary Keith McShea, office manager Tammy Turnbull, classified delegate Beverly Gniewecki, classified chief steward Renee Mikler, editorial delegates Denise Jewell Gee, Mike Harrington, David Robinson and Phil Fairbanks, editorial delegate/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley and nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick. Also, incoming committee members Alexa Finn and Trey Bankhead.

Excused: Vice President/Mobilization Sandy Tan, ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, district manager delegate Bob Snyder and editorial delegates Aaron Besecker.

Absent: Past president Pat Gormley, district manager chief steward Dick Fay, district manager delegate Brian Long.