Guild executive committee minutes: Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:06 p.m Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

There is a new hire in ABC. Felice McMillion explained the situation in which The News was seeking an additional three months of probation.

Motion/Second/Carried Robinson/Portman to extend probation by three months for a new ABC hire, provided that The News is able to produce and execute an acceptable plan for her training.

Vice President for Contract Enforcement Aaron Besecker delivered his committee report.

Approved grievance: Discover Magazine used editorial photos in this advertorial product. Committee is planning on additional discussions with management; official grievance has not been filed yet.

Interim Vice President for Mobilization and Communication Colin Dabkowski issued his report.

Colin credited Ellen with the fabulous design of the special Frontier Reporter issue that celebrated the members who left via buyouts during the summer.

The next issue, at President Sandy Tan’s suggestion, will be on the newcomers.

Colin said there was a great turnout at Labor Day parade. There is a new photo on the Facebook page. New signs were made for the parade.

“We should drink some beer together,” declared Dabkowski.

It was noted that the parade had a little less participation than usual, and that this year we weren’t “banging the drums” the week before.

Tan said The Buffalo News is expanding weekly Sun papers. Three more next month will be starting: Orchard Park, Lancaster/Depew and West Seneca. Those are in addition to current publications at Ken-Ton/City of Tonawanda and Hamburg.

Tan said the Sun papers are hiring a full-time reporter for Orchard Park and West Seneca; hiring a full-time page designer in addition to part-time designer they have now; and hiring more part-time reporters.

“We have now at least three full-time guild members and another three part-timers who are guild members,” Tan said.

This is a growth from one part-time Guild member in one year’s time.

There are a few adjustments to the Sun agreement, which mostly stays the same.

Tan said that when the first Sun agreement was written, the pay scale was based on Group D, starting at beginner, and in two years you would go to one year.

Now, they will start at beginner; after year one, they will reach the midway point between beginner and the one-year rate; after the second year they will be at the one-year rate; after the next year, they will be at the midway point between one and two.

It’s a four-step scale.

Page designer is Group E based. But they had trouble finding people, Tan said, which resulted in hiring the full-time person. There is a similar progression for page designer: E one-year rate for starters; after three years, more than Group E two-year rate.

“We have established annual wage scales for these folks, ensure raises every year and provide reason to stay,” said Tan.

Another addition to the Sun agreement is that when a Guild member fills in for an editor, they’ll make what the editor makes. In the past, they received a smaller increase.

“If these papers continue to do well,” Tan said, “it’s possible we’ll have part-timers improved to full-time.”

M/S/C Gawron/Pesarchick to approve the new Sun agreement.

There was a discussion of the social media policy in editorial in the light of a member facing discipline for retweeting mainstream news stories regarding Donald Trump. The situation had to do with the volume of tweets, Tan said.

We have left it with management and have asked for an update on where things stand. There is still not a resolution to this matter. If it moves forward as a disciplinary matter, we are talking about mobilizing.

M/S/C Tan/Besecker to approve the minutes for August 2018, with an edit regarding the note about the HR director’s departure, the notation of the abstentions of Sandy and Aaron in the budget vote, and with the attendance added.

Tan adjourned the meeting at 6:03 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, interim Vice President/Mobilization Colin Dabkowski, Treasurer and ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, Secretary Keith McShea, inside circulation delegate Diana Gawron, editorial delegates Mike Harrington and David Robinson; nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick; district manager steward Joan Portman; editorial alternate delegate Scott Scanlon, Sun papers steward Luke Hammill.

Excused: Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, past president Phil Fairbanks.

Absent: Editorial delegate Mark Sommer; district manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder, inside circulation delegate Latrice Carr, district manager co-stewards Matt Fuery and Mike Tatko, editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers.