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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!