Buffalo-Niagara Typographical Union votes to merge with the Buffalo Newspaper Guild

GREAT news!

The Buffalo-Niagara Typographical Union No. 9, CWA Local 14148, has voted to merge with the Buffalo Newspaper Guild. This union currently represents about 60 printing-related employees and retirees, including 24 union members who are active employees here at The Buffalo News.

If the merger agreement is approved by the Guild’s Executive Committee on Tuesday, it will mark the first expansion of Guild jurisdiction and membership since the Guild gained editorial jurisdiction of The Sun papers in 2017. It would also mark the largest expansion of Guild membership in decades.

Typographical Union members voted by mail and in house at The Buffalo News regarding the merger. On Tuesday, the final vote tally was 66 – 1 in favor, including overwhelming support from the two dozen members who work here at the paper.

“I am thrilled by this vote of confidence,” said Guild President Sandy Tan. “I know there was uncertainty among some Typographical Union members when merger discussions started, but the final vote shows our commitment to transparency, inclusion and strong representation is a message that resonated with our sister CWA union members.”

The Buffalo News employees covered by the Typographical Union work in Composing, Ad Services and Ad Operations. They are responsible for all non-editorial content that appears in the print paper. This union also represents employees working at half a dozen other print shops outside of The Buffalo News, including the Tonawanda News, which prints the Niagara Gazette; and Delft, Hodgins and Gallagher printing companies.

While this union was already part of the CWA, just like the Guild, their sector – Printing, Publishing and Media Workers (PPMW) – dissolved in August due to its loss of membership. As a result, the leadership of both the Guild and the Typographical unions negotiated a tentative merger agreement that has now been approved by the Typographical Union’s members and must next be approved by the Guild’s Executive Committee.

The Typographical Union could have chosen to become its own, separate News Guild local or folded its members into the broader CWA District 1 Office. But thanks to lengthy and ongoing communications among leaders on both sides, full merger negotiations progressed smoothly.

The merger agreement, if approved by the Executive Committee, would ensure Typographical Union members continue to hold a decision-making role in how their assets will be spent in defense of their own membership.

The Buffalo News has expressed no objection to the merger, as long as contracts for Typographical Union members continue to be bargained separately.

The union leaders involved in merger negotiations included Typographical Union President Harold Rehm, Vice President Paul Labinski, former Guild President Phil Fairbanks, Guild Administrator Kim Leiser and Tan. A meeting between Guild representatives and the Typographical Union’s members was held on Oct. 6.

“Everyone asked great questions,” Tan said. “The energy and insights offered by their members left us all really impressed. We can’t wait for the chance to welcome them properly.”

More details regarding the merger will be shared at our general membership meeting, held at noon and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first-floor auditorium. We encourage all members to attend. The merger agreement, if approved, also will be posted to the Guild website.

Click here to read the merger agreement.