President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:06 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, on Zoom.
Tan announced that Past President Phil Fairbanks is stepping down from the executive committee. She thanked him for his service to the Guild, particularly during the recent contract negotiations and mobilization effort. Tan said the past president’s seat on the executive committee is likely to remain vacant at this point.
Tan also said Diana Gawron is leaving The News and, as a consequence, stepping down from her positions as treasurer and Inside Circulation steward. Tan also thanked Gawron for her Guild service, especially as a member of the bargaining team. Gawron said she’ll miss her fellow members of the Guild. She said she’ll stay through the end of the year and will get involved in the Guild alumni chapter. Typographical dayside steward Hilary Osborn will take over as treasurer and Sophia Canahai will take Gawron’s place as Inside Circulation representative.
Tan said Lee Enterprises has informed the Guild that it plans to freeze the Guild pension at the end of the year. This means 401K contributions will begin soon after. This applies, Tan said, to the traditional Guild pension and not the pre-press pension. Tan said all pensions across The News will be frozen at the same time. Administrative Officer Kim Leiser said the Guild received notice on Nov. 1 of the freeze that will take effect on Dec. 31. The committee discussed how best to share the news with members and agreed to send out a flyer as soon as possible and to set up a in-person/Zoom meeting with Level Financial to provide more information on what this means for our members.
There was extended discussion of the ongoing issues with members getting their expense reports filled in a timely manner now that the processing work has shifted to a Lee hub in Virginia. Tan said it was supposed to be a smooth transition but members have having problems with checks getting mailed to the wrong address. Some members are left waiting for hundreds or thousands of dollars of expenses to be reimbursed. Leiser offered some recommendations, including making sure that any documents submitted electronically are in the form of a PDF and that direct deposit is the best option. ABC steward Alva Hill said she’s trying to help members on an individual, ad hoc basis. Editorial delegate Mike Harrington said this shouldn’t fall on Hill to do. Tan agreed and said the Guild would send a note to management to express our dismay with the situation.
Motion/Second/Carried Scanlon/Harrington to approve the minutes of the Oct. 12 executive committee meeting.
The News informed the Guild it can’t hold meetings in the building any more after the end of the year, Tan said. The News did not provide a reason why it was making this change, she said.
Newsroom management has said they plan to hire interns once again, beginning with summer 2022, at a rate of $15 per hour, Tan said. She added The News continues to make an effort to hire new reporters and editors and she encouraged members to reach out to job candidates to urge them to apply.
Leiser did not have an update on planning for a Guild holiday party. She said she’s still trying to pin down a date and location given the logistical and safety challenges.
Tan said the Guild still is researching what Guild-branded items to offer its members. She said leadership has gotten pricing on Guild-branded face masks, for example, and she’s looking to set up a small working group to study this further and make some recommendations. T-shirts and lanyards also are options.
Motion/Second/Carried Osborn/Lenzi to spend up to $3,000 on Guild-branded lanyards and masks.
Leiser said the Guild is waiting on the final language, mainly related to the pension freeze and 401K contributions, before it can print copies of the recently negotiated contract.
Harrington brought up the newspaper price increases that are getting attention on social media. Leiser said they are tiered price increases for all subscription types.
Grievance Committee Report
Mobilization Committee Report
Tan adjourned the meeting at 6:21 p.m.
Attendance: President Sandy Tan, 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, Editorial delegate Scott Scanlon, Editorial delegate Mike Harrington, ABC steward Alva Hill, Editorial delegate Dave Robinson, Editorial delegate Mark Sommer.
Excused: Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Sun co-steward Francesca Bond, Sun Newspapers co-steward James Farrell.
Absent: Typographical nightside steward Mark Hanover, Editorial nightside steward Mike Pesarchick, District Manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder.