Sun paper expansion results in more hiring, raises for Sun-based Guild members

9.19.18 — The Buffalo News is moving forward with its expansion of weekly Sun papers, committing to launching three additional weeklies in addition to the Hamburg Sun and Kenmore-Tonawanda Sun papers that operate now.

And that is good news for the Guild.

Next month, The News will launch the Orchard Park Sun, the Lancaster-Depew Sun and the West Seneca Sun papers. That expansion will involve the hiring of two new reporters and an additional full-time page designer, all of whom are covered under a new agreement reached between the Guild and management.

The agreement represents a win for both sides. It maintains the hiring and work-rule flexibility built into prior agreements yet provides new wage scale improvements that will help The News attract and retain good employees.

Among the key improvements:

  • Guild reporters and page designers working for The Sun papers will now receive raises every year as part of a four-step wage scale, as opposed to the prior agreement, which resulted in Guild members waiting two years for a raise.
  • Top-of-scale wages were raised for Guild reporters and page designers at The Sun. For a full-time reporter, for instance, top annual wages would rise from $38,045 to $40,886.
  • Any Guild employee at The Sun who fills in when the editor is away will now be compensated at the Group C two-year rate, an increase of more than 25 percent over the prior agreement.

As with past agreements, The News maintains the right to hire Guild members for The Sun on a full-time or part-time basis, and editors may write a limited number of municipal/school district stories that otherwise fall under Guild jurisdiction.

Guild members working at The Sun papers will continue to enjoy virtually all other contract protections and provisions as other Guild members at The News. The new agreement also retains language that anyone who writes for The Sun papers, both Guild and non-Guild, adhere to professional journalism and ethics standards.

The rapid expansion of The Sun papers since July of last year, when the Guild negotiated its first Hamburg Sun agreement with management, has grown into a true bright spot for the union. What began modestly as the hiring of one part-time Guild reporter for The Hamburg Sun has evolved into the employment of two full-time reporters, one full-time page designer, one part-time page designer and three other part-time reporters. With the addition of the three new papers, The News is hiring two additional non-Guild editors, as well as a sports editor.

Sun paper publisher Brian Connolly said the addition of new positions, both part time and full time, reflect his commitment to producing a high-quality news product and his desire to retain talent.

That commitment is shared by the Guild.

“The new agreement between the Guild and The News reflects the same commitment both sides made a year ago to create a profitable and sustainable new venture for the company,” said Guild President Sandy Tan. “The Hamburg Sun is now a money-making paper, and the Kenmore-Tonawanda Sun continues to show signs of promise, with consistent growth since its launch less than a year ago. Our continued hope is that the three new weeklies will follow the same upward path.”