A version of this letter by President Sandy Tan was previously emailed to Guild members and summarizes the many accomplishments of the Guild over the past year as we look back on 2020.
At a time when we’ve all been working under some of the most stressful conditions we’ve ever endured, the Buffalo Newspaper Guild has helped make it possible for us to continue to do great work while safeguarding members’ livelihoods and working conditions.
Despite one of the worst financial periods in our history, no Guild member was laid off this past year, and those who took a buyout took it because they wanted to, not because they had to. That includes newsroom sports clerks and members of our Prepress Department.
While all Guild members were furloughed for two weeks, the Guild negotiated agreements so that all members either received more money while on furlough than they did while working, or had some of their lost wages compensated for by The News.
The Guild successfully negotiated two new contracts with the Prepress Department and the Tonawanda News. Members of the Prepress/Typographical Unit got raises and, for the first time, have new jurisdiction language, severance pay and sick time benefits.
The Guild has pressed management for more open and frequent communication with employees during this time of separation and advocated for policy improvements to protect the health and safety of employees while the Covid-19 threat persists.
In big and small ways, the Guild has also opposed company efforts to weaken professional journalism, dilute the credibility of the paper, and siphon Guild work off to managers or outside companies.
In short, our union has accomplished a great deal during a tumultuous time. And as we look ahead to a new – and hopefully brighter – year ahead, thank you for your ongoing support and solidarity.
In light of this exceptionally difficult year, and in the spirit of the giving season, the Guild has mailed Tops gifts cards, along with holiday greetings, to all members. May you and your family be healthy, happy and safe this holiday season as we say good riddance to 2020. Special shout outs to Guild Administrator Kim Leiser; former Guild President Phil Fairbanks, now retired; and all the members of the Guild leadership team who have devoted their energies to keeping our union strong.