Executive Committee Meeting Minutes: Oct. 12, 2021

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:05 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, on Zoom.

The executive committee has not received the minutes for its July meeting. Motion/Second/Carried Besecker/Harrington to approve the minutes of the Sept. 15 executive committee meeting.

Grievance Committee Report

Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker said the Guild has noticed more tweets from The Buffalo News account that aren’t labeled properly as sponsored content. The food-related and recipe articles linked to in the tweets are labeled as sponsored content on The News’ site but not in the tweets themselves. The grievance committee met to discuss this. Members believe the Guild is in the right on this and are optimistic this can be resolved with better labeling.

He also started a discussion about some of the changes taking place in ABC, where The News and Lee have shifted expense processing and other work to Richmond, Va. The News did not provide the four-months’ notice required under the new contract. But no Guild employees lost their jobs. Other members, including Vice President/Mobilization Rachel Lenzi, raised concerns about the process to get expense reports fulfilled now. In the end, the executive committee agreed to send a letter to News management highlighting its concerns about how this change was handled.

Mobilization Committee Report

Lenzi noted the success of the happy hour held the previous week at Hofbrauhaus and said the next edition of the Frontier Reporter will mention the E.J. Mays Scholarship and include a roundup of social events, a recounting of mobilization efforts and a recap of negotiations from Tan.

President’s Report

Tan said The News has added more security, including reopening the guard shack at the parking lot, in response to some recent concerning incidents in the lot.

She also pointed out The News has ended its contract with its longtime cleaning company and hired a new contractor. Tan expressed regret that workers many Guild members have gotten to know over the years will not be returning.

Tan urged Guild members to reach out to journalists they know and encourage them to apply for the many openings in the newsroom.

She said she hasn’t heard anything about when all newsroom employees will have to return to the office full-time nor when the pension will be frozen. The pension enhancements won’t take effect until that time.

Old Business

The bargaining team has held its first meeting to prepare for the pre-press contract negotiations but Tan said she doesn’t know when bargaining with The News will begin.

Administrative Officer Kim Leiser said there’s nothing new to report on contract talks for the Guild-represented independent print shops, three of which need new agreements.

New Business

Tan said the Guild should consider offering some new, Guild-labeled apparel because it’s been a long time since it’s had any produced for its members. There was discussion around what types of clothing or apparel would appeal to members. Leiser suggested new polo shirts because the last time the Guild offered polo shirts was for its 75th anniversary. Lenzi suggested knit caps and T-shirts. Typographical nightside steward Mark Hanover. Others suggested face masks and ID lanyards.

Members then discussed whether and when to hold a holiday party. Members agreed it was a good idea to hold one again this year after not holding a holiday party in 2020. Members tentatively settled on Friday Dec. 3 and Leiser said she would begin getting quotes from different venues, including Templeton Landing, which has hosted the past few such parties.

Tan adjourned the meeting at 6 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Vice President/Mobilization Rachel Lenzi, Treasurer and Inside Circulation steward Diana Gawron, Secretary Steve Watson, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, District Manager steward Joan Portman, Typographical dayside steward Hilary Osborn, Typographical nightside steward Mark Hanover, Editorial delegate Scott Scanlon, Editorial delegate Mike Harrington.

Excused: Past President Phil Fairbanks, Editorial delegate Mark Sommer.

Absent: Sun co-steward Francesca Bond, Sun Newspapers co-steward James Farrell, ABC steward Alva Hill, Editorial delegate Dave Robinson, Editorial nightside steward Mike Pesarchick, District Manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder, Editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers.