Guild February 2014 general membership meeting minutes

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

President Henry Davis called the meeting to order at 12:03 p.m, Feb. 19, 2014 at The News’ first-floor auditorium, One News Plaza.

VP/mobilization Phil Fairbanks reported that the mobilization committee had met for the first time last week and there were the usual discussions of work actions which would escalate from mild ones to more serious movements.

Surveys were sent out to membership, and the mobilization committee will have them to the bargaining team in about a week.

He said the Guild would again be applying for funds from the international to help fund mobilization efforts of various types.

Mark Sommer reported on grievances, particularly that some payroll work had been unilaterally transferred to the transportation dept. Management will work this out with us. That has to be bargained for, Sommer said.

Sommer said that there had been improper vacation time procedures in the graphics department, and that is being discussed.

Davis reported on the Univera rollout since the first of the year, saying that there have been issues, including some copay confusion and guest member (children in college) issues, but that he believes the News will have resolved these problems as of March 1.

Davis reiterated that he believes negotiations this year will be rather difficult. They are anticipated to begin in March.

In new business, Davis reported that the Guild has attempted to increase its solidarity and outreach with other unions through attending meetings of the WNY Labor Council.

“We think it’s important,” Davis said. “We tend to be very insular, as many guilds are.

“We think would be beneficial to have relationships with other unions. Maybe we can learn things to apply here, and make connections. You never know, down the road, who may be able to help you.

“That’s something that we’re committed to.”

Davis reported that The News is likely moving to self-funded insurance. The News will seek our permission to go to this plan. We’re unlikely have it in 2015 since it is a complicated matter, Davis said: The News needs all unions to sign on.

“One things we take pride in is that we have been well learned on health insurance,” said Davis. “We’ll be experts on self-funded insurance.”

In addressing the negotiations and bargaining, and the anticipated mobilization efforts, Davis said:

“Our influence is only as good as your participation. Don’t be spectators, be participants.

“When you participate, The News notices. Past experience shows that your participance helps make The News change their stance.

“For us on the bargaining team, it gives us so much encouragement when we see people backing us up. When people show up who don’t usually show up, it means something.”

Part one of the meeting was adjourned by Davis (McShea seconded) at 12:21 p.m.

Attendance: Andrew Galarneau, Colin Dabkowski, Pat LaKamp, Dave Robinson, Budd Bailey, Jay Rey, Matt Gryta, Steve Watson, Sharon Gleason, Carol Feind, Renee Mikler, Felice McMillion, Dick Baldwin, Jill Terreri, Jonathan Epstein, Brian Meyer, Amy Yakawiak, Matt Spina, Susan Kelley, Denise Jewell Gee, Mary Jo Monnin, Jean Westmoore, Henry Davis, Tammy Turnbull, Phil Fairbanks, Mark Sommer.

Part two of the meeting was called to order by Davis at 12:34 p.m.

Sandy Tan, Alexa Finn, Felice McMillion, Trey Bankhead, Diedre Williams, Leah Samol, Christina Wilemski, Katie Skrupa, Scott Scanlon.

The same reports and talking points were made by the same Guild officers in the second meting.

Motion/Second/Carried Fairbanks/McShea at 12:51 p.m.