March 2016 Guild executive committee meeting minutes

President Henry Davis called the meeting to order at 12:07 p.m, March 15, 2016 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

Aaron Besecker presented the grievance report

– There is an issue involving a funeral home ad and a non-affiliate. There was a meeting with Joe Giglia about it Monday. “We think we have a really good case,” said Besecker. Giglia was going on vacation; Besecker will report back.

– An editorial member made a political donation — management wanted a suspension, they ended up writing a letter to the employee. An email was sent out to all employees following the resolution of this situation.

– The first “News aide” started working today, on cityside. The byline will appear as “News staff.”

Colin Dabkowski reported on mobilization.

– Dabkowski was recently back from a new local officers training weekend in Baltimore with staff members from the national Newspaper Guild.

“There was a lot of knowledge shared, we have a Facebook network of the people who were there, and it was a great experience. I’m excited about putting that to work. Marian [Needham] gave a mobilization talk – it was inspiring and daunting at the same time.”

At last month’s mobilization committee meeting, the membership survey was tweaked — adding more categories for members to rank and more space for people to contribute their ideas.

At the next mobilization meeting, Dabkowski wants to kick off a constant social media campaign — highlighting employees and doing various things to be a constant presence on social media that isn’t directly tied to bargaining. It can get our audience together. He said there are some new members from design that are eager to contribute.

Davis emphasizes the importance of the survey, as it helps to provide proposals for the bargaining team.

Dabkowski said people should have about two weeks to do the survey.

He mentioned that there is a training system – which is a concern in newsroom – that TNG has — the guild has people to send out regarding newspaper issues. “It might be good to try.” It could show that we’re trying to fill in this gap that exists, that people wanted it.

Treasurer Kim Leiser reported on our financials five months into the year.

For the Christmas Party, we were $1,200 over budget, which is something we knew ahead of time — we got a startling, big response to the part with 120 people showing up, which was great.

She is looking into phone lines and business insurance to see if there are ways to procure savings out of those areas.

Henry Davis reported new business:

— The Guild’s bargaining team met for the first time and discussed the beginning of bargaining and what we might expect. The News is talking with other units presently.

— Dabkowski & Davis met with council of newspaper unions — which consists of unions in the building — at the group’s most recent meeting. The mailers and pressmen are in negotiations, and the big issue is health insurance.

Davis said there are plans to work on some sort of solidarity event over the summer, a picnic or something, which is a continuation of efforts the guild has been putting forth in recent months.

— We are looking for a new staff member for the local, Davis said; he said the job was posted.

— Berkshire Hathaway has a plan to consolidate pensions. With the help of Newspaper Guild attorney Barbara Camens, Davis wrote a letter, which consisted of a detailed list of questions regarding the changes, and that has been submitted to Berkshire Hathaway.

— There has been a slight update to website: Bylaws have been posted; the latest contract is posted as a pdf. The contract is not being printed with negotiations starting again soon.

— The annual shoreline cleanup activity in which the Guild joins the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers in memory of Jay Bonfatti, will be on April 23.

Motion/Second/Carried Davis/Kelley to adjourn at 12:43 p.m.

Attendance: President Henry Davis, Vice President/Mobilization Colin Dabkowski, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Treasurer Kim Leiser, Secretary Keith McShea, office manager Tammy Turnbull, classified delegates Beverly Gniewecki, classified delegate/chief steward Renee Mikler, editorial delegates Mark Sommer and David Robinson, editorial delegate/clerks chief Susan Kelley, editorial chief steward Dan Kirchberger.

Excused: Editorial delegate Mike Harrington, ABC chief steward Felice McMillion,

Absent: Past president Pat Gormley, district manager delegate Bob Snyder, district manager chief steward Dick Fay, editorial delegate Trey Bankhead, nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick, alternate district manager delegate Brian Long, alternate editorial delegate Sandy Tan.