Guild executive committee minutes: Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2017

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:12 p.m, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

Motion/Second/Carried Besecker/Gawron to appoint Dan Kirchberger to the position of Vice President for mobilization.

Kirchberger serves out the rest on Colin Dabkowski’s term, which goes through 2020.

Phil Fairbanks has agreed to co-chair the mobilization committee with Kirchberger.

VP for Contract Administration Aaron Besecker issued his committee report.

Besecker said two grievances were filed today, both having to do with Niagara Weekend.

One freelancer was responsible for approximately 90 percent of the content, including 8 of the 11 briefs; there were no staff bylines; there were a couple of unbylined stories that were written by the freelancer.

Besecker said that a few years ago, the section was about 40 percent freelancers. “It’s gotten pretty bad.”

In a separate grievance: Niagara Weekend has been running submitted photos, and contributed art. The News is filling up space running photos that are submitted, Besecker said.

A meeting with Joe Giglia is set for Friday.

Besecker said that Niagara Weekend is still using staff photographers, but it’s estimated that one photo per edition is freelance/provided.

Besecker: “We raised this issue in March, when contributed art was being featured as centerpiece.”

Besecker said they are looking into sponsored content posts. The newsroom has allowed Buffalo News Facebook posts that are sponsored content. Management has said they are supposed to look different — but they currently do not.

Sandy Tan suggests it should be an issue in bargaining – that we have clear language that says sponsored content be labeled as such.

VP for Mobilization Dan Kirchberger issued his committee report.

The Guild had a number of social media actions, including the Bills staffers changing their Twitter logos to the Guild logo; then the Bills/Sabres reporters changing their logo to the Guild logo; then all reporters/editors changing their logos to Guild holiday logos.

Kirchberger said all reporters/editors will be instructed to change their Twitter logo back to their own image after the new year.

Colin Dabkowski is still handling the planned production of Free Fred Brown and the diversity committee.

Jeff Simon and Dan Zakroczemski accepted buyouts from The News (which were negotiated by the Guild).

Simon will return as a retiree with movie reviews and columns.

Zakroczemski will be a regular part-time graphic illustrator position to be part-time, which the Guild agreed to. He will have at least one 6-hour shift each week.

MSC Besecker/Kirchberger to approve for two buyouts (Jeff Simon and Dan Zakroczemski) and to allow The News to downgrade graphic illustrator a part-time position .

MSC Tan/Besecker to approve the 2017 bargaining team: Tammy Turnbull, Kim Leiser, Sandy Tan, Dan Kirchberger, Diana Gawron, Felice McMillion, Dave Robinson, Phil Tavernier and ad-hoc member Pat Lakamp.

MSC Tan/Sommer to approve the 2018 Guild executive meetings: Jan. 16, Feb. 13, March 14, April 10, May 16, June 23, July 17, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, Oct. 23, Nov. 14, Dec. 12 and general membership meetings: Jan. 17, April 11, July 18, Oct. 24.

Administrative officer Kim Leiser reported on the Holiday Party. A grand total of $9,026 was spent, including $500 in gifts. More than $2000 was paid for no-shows (35). There was discussion on adding a nominal fee next year.

Sandy Tan adjourned the meeting at 6:06 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Vice President/Mobilization Dan Kirchberger, Secretary Keith McShea, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, inside circulation delegate Diana Gawron, editorial delegate Mark Sommer and editorial alternate delegate Scott Scanlon.

Excused: Editorial delegate/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley, editorial delegate Mike Harrington.

Absent: Past President Henry Davis, editorial delegates Phil Fairbanks, David Robinson and Trey Bankhead, district manager co-stewards David Williams and Phil Tavernier, Frontier Reporter editor Ellen Pryzpasniak, Treasurer and ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, Inside circulation delegate Latrice Carr, Nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick, classified alternate delegate Jacqueline Kuma, editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers, district manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder.