Guild executive committee minutes: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:07 p.m, Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

VP for Contract Administration Aaron Besecker issued his committee report.

Two grievance meetings have been held on the classified commission issue; there is a management meeting this week. We will talk it over with classified.

Another issue the committee is exploring is a claim that district manager shifts are being passed over for seniority. The grievance committee voted to file that grievance.

There are a few additional issues we are pursuing and researching

VP for Mobilization Colin Dabkowski issued his committee report.

Ellen Przepasniak of the digital desk will take over the Guild Reporter role, with print copy designed by Christina. She’ll take over webmaster duties as well.

Dabkowski discussed several potential public campaign steps that the committee is considering.

The committee is also seeking to bring the issue of staff diversity to the attention of management.

Henry Davis provided an update on negotiations.

Kim Leiser provided an update on the Guild’s NLRB audit. “There was a report with 43 pages of questions, although not every page applied to us — there were no red flags in our report. It was just random. The NLRB representative said the Guild’s answers didn’t change in 10 years and that he didn’t forsee any issues with our audit.”

New business:

The Guild is beginning a mentorship program, which has been developed by Henry Davis and Tiffany Lankes working on it. There are two arrangements that have been made, with UB and Buffalo State. The Guild is mentoring about eight students at the UB Spectrum and one student from Buffalo State.

There is a small chance that we could get some CWA funding, Davis said.

He said that college newspapers, just like professional papers, are in deep trouble. There is essentially no oversight. Once you research it, Davis said, you see “it is happening across the nation — colleges cutting costs.”.

Another aspect of this — it is good for us as a newspaper to identify local talent and encourage it, Davis said; he said it is also and opportunity to introduce people to the newsguild and unions in general.

Davis said he is looking for volunteers to critique the Spectrum itself — it doesn’t have to be once a week. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible,” said Davis.

New Local Officers Seminar Report from Felice McMillion and Sandy Tan.

The Guild funded Felice and Sandy to attend this past weekend’s seminar in Maryland, which is essentially a crash course in being a good Guild officer, Tan said.

“It was an excellent seminar,” Tan said. “I’ve been involved in Guild for a long time, primarily on the mobilization side; It was a good opportunity to learn about overall issues, contract enforcement, finances, leadership issues.

“I would like to, over time, share information from the seminar little by little with the executive committee,” said Tan.

Tan then handed out as assignment called “The Elevator Pitch” to the members of the committee, encouraging officers and representatives to have an “Elevator Pitch” conversation with a fellow guild member about the benefits of the Guild or perhaps peoples’ issues with the Guild.

Kim Leiser provided a Holiday Party recap. We budgeted $10,000; $9,000 was spent. 109 people attended.

It was the best-attended Holiday Party in quite a long time, which was met with rousing applause around the table for what committee members described as a “terrific,” “outstanding,” party.

Leiser explained that the Guild’s email address was archaic and that she wanted to establish a new one.

M/S/C Dabkowski/Kirchberger to grant Kim Leiser permission to change the Guild administrative officer email address to

Meeting adjourned at 5:49 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Vice President/Mobilization Colin Dabkowski, Secretary Keith McShea, Past President Henry Davis, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, inside circulation delegate Diana Gawron, classified delegate Beverly Gniewecki, classified delegate/chief steward Renee Mikler, district manager chief steward Dick Fay, editorial dayside/digital chief steward Dan Kirchberger, editorial nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick, editorial delegate Trey Bankhead.

Excused: Treasurer and ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, editorial delegate Mike Harrington, alternate editorial delegate Scott Scanlon.

Absent: Editorial delegate/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley, editorial delegates Phil Fairbanks, David Robinson and Mark Sommer, inside circulation delegate Latrice Carr, alternate district manager delegate Bob Snyder, classified alternate delegate Jacqueline Kuma, classified alternate Alexa Finn, editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers.