Bytes and Bits

Toledo Members Approve One-Year Contract at Toledo Blade

The Toledo Newspaper Guild members ratified a one-year contract with the Toledo Blade. The Blade is a division of Block Communications Incorporated.

The contract includes a bonus, a new compensation plan for advertising sales staff, more vacation time, an elimination of unpaid sick days, and a 401k match for employees for the first time.

In exchange, Guild members agreed to increased health-care costs, a permanent freeze in pension accruals, work-rule changes, and a pay freeze.

Guild president Nolan Rosenkrans said, “This contract is the best deal reached with The Blade in more than a decade, as we’ve faced repeated pay and benefit cuts.

“I’m proud of what we were able to win in negotiations, but the lack of a raise in this contract is a deep disappointment for me.

“At a time when our very craft is under attack, it is more important than ever that the Block family invest in journalism.

“Real journalists deserve the support of newspaper owners, and they deserve far better than 14 years without a raise. They deserve owners who reject fake news, and who want to stand up and be counted in these trying times.

“The victories earned in this contract came through the solidarity of our members. We will be back in a year to fight for a fair contract, a contract Toledo journalists, advertising staff, marketing employees, circulation workers, and the IT and business departments deserve.”

Jacobin Editorial Staff Joins The NewsGuild of New York

Jacobin, a Brooklyn-based print and online magazine that offers socialist perspectives on politics and culture, agreed to recognize The NewsGuild of New York as the bargaining representative for its editorial employees. All eligible employees signed a union card choosing the local as their bargaining agent.

“This past year, Jacobin’s ideas have reached more people than ever before,” said Elizabeth Mahony, an Assistant Editor at Jacobin. “It’s important for people to see that those ideas are reflected in our everyday practices at the magazine, and that we’re in solidarity with a wider labor movement that is increasingly made up of unconventional workplaces.”

In its mission statement, the workers declared that, “We are proud to be part of Jacobin and the contribution it has made to the growth of left-wing politics.

“By unionizing relatively early in the life of Jacobin, we hope to institutionalize the socialist principles that have guided the magazine’s development.”

IAPE Ratifies Two Contracts with Dow Jones

By a two-thirds to one-third margin, the membership of the main unit of Dow Jones approved a settlement that is set to run through June 30, 2019. IAPE or Dow Jones has the option to terminate the contract at the end of the first or second year of the agreement.

The agreement covers about 1,300 employees in the United States and Canada. The contract raises salaries by at least 2% each year retroactive to July 1, 2016, with scale and minimum-dollar increase netting larger pay hikes for many.

The insurance premium rates for 2017 will be the same as for 2016. Any changes after 2017 will match the non-union plan, though the new contract contains limits on annual premium increases. Other highlights include an increase in shift differential and standby pay and five paid sick days to non-regular part-time employees.

A separate IAPE bargaining unit at a printing plant in Bowling Green, Ohio approved a one-year extension of their expired agreement. The extended deal will run through June 30, 2017, and provides 2% pay increases retroactive to July 1, 2016.

WBNG Wins Representation Vote at Advancement Project

By Chris Stergalas
Working America Unit Chair, WBNG
The Washington-Baltimore News Guild has added a 30th shop to the local’s slate of bargaining units. Employees of the Advancement Project on Jan. 10 voted 11–2 in favor of WBNG representation.

The civil rights organization that works “on-the-ground… to develop and inspire community-based solutions” has its national headquarters in Washington and an office in Los Angeles. The nonprofit organization works on issues such as immigrant justice, rights restoration, and voter protection.

Guild members at the Advancement Project include attorneys, campaign and project managers, and administrative and communications staff. Bruce C. Jett, the WBNG Organizing Consultant, said that he expects the bargaining unit to comprise at least 15 workers, a dozen of whom are in Washington.

Jett and WBNG Executive Director Cet Parks credited TNG’s Digital Media Organizer Melinda Fiedler with the “heavy lifting” during the campaign. “WBNG board member Chris Stergalas assisted with the initial contact to help move the campaign forward,” Parks said.


News Guild of Maine Ratifies Portland Press Herald Agreement

Members of the Portland Press Herald voted 89–0 to ratify a first contract with MaineToday Media, which bought the paper in 2015. The local represents the newsroom, including digital workers, advertising, business, circulation, and the maintenance departments.

Off Year Local Officer Election Season

There were changes in leadership in locals. Sandra Tan is president of the Buffalo Guild; the Canadian Media Guild elected Kamala Rao, president, and Jordanna Lake, vice president; Grace Catania is president of the Chicago Guild; Matt Sanctis is president of the Dayton Guild; and the NewsGuild of New York elected Grant Glickson, president, and Vincent Mallozzi, secretary-treasurer.


TNG-CWA Rep. Kathy Munroe and Betsy Regan, Providence administrator, second and fourth from left, with Brian Nelson, Rick Eggleston, Kim Ring, Brian Lee, Christine Hochkeppel displaying their feelings about the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s disparate treatment of the Guild.