Newsletter: Mourning a Guild mentor, celebrating a successful strike

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Happy Thursday! 

First, last year’s NewsGuild-CWA numbers were incredible. Members held 21 work stoppages, including the two open-ended strikes in Pittsburgh and Fort Worth. We welcomed 1,999 new members from 35 newly unionized workplaces. And Guild members won 71 contracts last year, including 31 first contracts! Congratulations to all!

We had sad news last week. We lost a beloved retired NewsGuild staff rep, Bruce Nelson. Bruce died last Tuesday, January 10. He helped mentor and build up Guild members for three decades, until he retired in 2015. Born in St. Cloud, Minn., he spent his career involved in journalism, first as an award-winning reporter in Minnesota and then as a Guild staff rep. He worked alongside members at nearly every Guild paper, including the Washington Post, Albany Times Union, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun Times and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Tomorrow, several Guild members will gather to celebrate Bruce’s life. Funeral services will be held on Friday, Jan. 20, at Donaldson Funeral Home in Laurel, Maryland. Services begin at 1pm.  

Members are now three months into their strike in Pittsburgh! I’ve been with members here and they’re doing amazing things. They’ve launched a petition calling for the removal of Allan Block, one of the Post-Gazette owners, from C-SPAN’s board. They’re telling the Pittsburgh Steelers to drop their relationship with the PG. 

Please take two minutes and add your name to those petitions!

Despite these wins, the PG has refused to bargain and settle the strike. 

To be clear, our demands are simple and reasonable: that the PG reinstate workers’ health coverage and agree to follow federal labor law. That’s it!  

Their stall tactics won’t work. We’ve raised more than $207k to support striking workers, and are continuing to grow that number! This week we’re aiming to raise $40k, which just so happens to be the amount of bonuses the PG recently handed to people crossing the picket line. 

Can you stand in solidarity and contribute right now? 

The amazing journalists at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram won their strike! After 24 days on the line, they won a very good first contract and ratified it unanimously. This contract raised the salary floor from McClatchy’s $45,000 up to $52,000 for current staffers. They won gender-inclusive language on family leave allowances when a worker has a child. They won more flexibility on bereavement leave. And so much more! Congrats to our awesome members in Texas! 

Side note, major props to the Tarrant County Labor Council, who showed up from day one to picket with folks — and brought Scabby the Rat! Also thanks to the Texas AFL-CIO and CWA District 6 for supporting our folks! Workers raised more than $50,000 to support their strike. 

We had our first ever virtual nominating conference in early January. If you missed it, you can watch the whole thing on Facebook. An amazing crop of new leaders is stepping up. Nine Executive Council positions were filled for terms that will begin in July. You can see the full list of members and read more about our new EC on our website

Need a map of all the regions? See that here. 

We also got to thank the current Executive Council leaders, which is filled with folks who have dedicated many years of their lives to our collective fight. Congrats to everyone and my huge appreciation for everyone who’s leaving us and made our union strong for many decades!

Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined our call to stop the hedge fund takeover of local news. Did you see her powerful letter to the Federal Communications Commission, asking them to intervene in the attempted takeover of TEGNA by hedge fund Standard General? Thank you, Sen. Warren for joining our call: protect media jobs and stop the hedge fund takeover of local news!

Steward training is continuing. Next Wednesday we’ll have Module 2: A Workplace Organizer, followed by four more modules every other week through March. See and register for events on our calendar.

I feel so inspired to work with all of y’all every day. We have a righteous fight on our hands and we are WINNING. Keep it up!

In solidarity,

Striking journalists at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram picketing in the neighborhood of editor-in-chief Steve Coffman on December 12, 2022.

Newsletter: The best holiday gift is a fair contract

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All around the country, NewsGuild members are rising up to demand a fair contract.

The New York Times Guild walked off the job on Thursday, in a one-day work stoppage with a super majority of the entire place participating. Not only are reporters, photographers and other newsroom workers part of the Guild, but so are editorial assistants, security guards, IT specialists and many others.

Some of these workers earn as little as $52,000 a year and are expected to live in New York City. That, and an unfair labor practice, are a major reason more than 1,100 workers walked out last week. Claudia Irizarry Aponte spent time talking with the lower paid workers at the New York Times to tell their stories.

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Newsletter: We are on strike everywhere!

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We are in our seventh week on strike in Pittsburgh and our members there are so brave amid truly illogical and illegal behavior by the Post-Gazette’s hired attorneys. Tuesday’s bargaining session was a joke.

Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh President Zack Tanner, left, confers with member Hallie Lauer in a caucus with the union’s bargaining committee during the third bargaining session this year with the company on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. (Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

At one point, a Guild member asked Richard Lowe, the King & Ballow attorney representing the Post-Gazette, if there were any changes that could be made to the guild’s health care proposal that the company would consider.

“We are staying with our proposals, and we think they’re better,” Lowe said. “To answer your question, no, there are not.”

What are their proposals? The company is sticking with the same proposals from two-and-a-half years ago before they illegally imposed on our members.

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Newsletter: Join Gannett journalists for a virtual rally tomorrow!

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Tomorrow night Gannett journalists are speaking out on their fight to save local news. We’re hosting the rally and it’ll include musician Billy Bragg, Florida Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, New York State Senator James Skoufis and unionized Gannett journalists from across the company.

The webinar will start at 7 p.m. ET sharp. Join it here on Zoom.

The rally is open to all. Come hear how hundreds of Gannett employees across the country are fighting back against Gannett’s layoffs, outsourcing, shrinking local news coverage and low pay that prevents many from living in the communities they cover. 

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Newsletter: Some Guild campaigns need your support 

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I attended the Austin NewsGuild’s negotiating session last week via Zoom, where the bargaining committee presented their economics proposals.

I was so proud of the committee and the amazing journalists who gave testimonials. In true Gannett fashion, the management representatives expressed empathy and appreciation for the speakers, but after a 40-minute caucus, returned empty-handed.

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Newsletter: Fiona impacts our members in Puerto Rico

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This weekend has been very difficult for our members and other residents of Puerto Rico, who have been impacted by flooding, power outages and devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona.

The governor said Monday that the hurricane caused catastrophic destruction in urban areas and left almost the entire island without power.

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Newsletter: Condé workers make history

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Condé Nast workers made history on Friday: More than 500 staffers at a dozen publications won voluntary recognition of Condé Nast Union. All of Condé Nast publications are now union!

The newly recognized union covers full- and part-time editorial, video and production workers at Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Epicurious, Glamour, GQ, Self, Teen Vogue, them., Vanity Fair and Vogue, as well as Condé Nast Entertainment. It also includes more than 100 subcontracted employees who work for a third-party staffing agency.

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Newsletter: Win a NewsGuild jacket or hoodie this labor week!

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I hope you had a great Labor/Labour Day yesterday!

I was in Toronto alongside members and leaders of the Canadian Media Guild and CWA Canada. It was a blast and from the looks of social media, many other Guild folks joined parades happening around North America. 

I broke down what’s happened since the last labor day in a video message

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Newsletter: NYT performance reviews show bias; Guild loses a good soul

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An analysis by members of the New York Times Guild published last week reveals stunning racial disparities in performance evaluations of Guild-represented employees by management at the New York Times.

The study found that being Hispanic reduced the odds of receiving a high score by about 60%, being Black cut the chances of high scores by nearly 50%, and being Asian lowered the odds of a high score by about 35%. In 2020, not a single Black employee received the highest rating, while white employees accounted for more than 90 percent of the roughly 50 people who received the top score.

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Newsletter: You get a contract! You get a contract! You get a contract!

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I just came back from Minnesota for Pride at Work, an organization that builds the power of LGBTQ+ members in the labor movement. It was a total blast and the convention honored AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Fred Redmond and me with their Solidarity Awards.

Continue reading “Newsletter: You get a contract! You get a contract! You get a contract!”