Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Guild executive committee minutes: Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2017

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:07 p.m, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2017 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

Tan welcomed guild members and committee meeting newcomers Scott Scanlon, Matt Furey and Mike Tatko.

VP for Contract Administration Aaron Besecker issued his committee report.

The grievance committee met prior to this meeting about a bunch of ongoing issues. 

The committee voted to file a grievance in classified after a rep was shortchanged on a commission. The committee had met with management, the disagreement remained, and the committee voted to file a grievance.

The committee is in the fact-finding phase of a jurisdiction issue and is trying to determine if the work in question is joint guild/management work or guild work.

In advertising – the committee is attempting to set up a meeting with management regarding how a new system would possibly be eliminating one person’s job.

Besecker also said payment has been made to nightside members due to meal service being discontinued, as negotiated in the last contract. Besecker said the committee double-checked to make sure the right people were getting the payment.

Mobilization report was done through handouts as Colin Dabkowski was away on vacation.

The executive committee looked over extensive preparations for a public campaign against management, which included outlines of radio, TV and billboard advertisements, among other vehicles.

Henry Davis reported on bargaining. There is a bargaining session set for Feb. 23.

Old business:

President Sandy Tan discussed stipends and possible alterations to them.

“Why are we looking at them? Coming into office in January, one of my primary goals is to keep the Guild as strong as possible, if not stronger, and I think that requires the effort of all of us. Many of us are sitting at this table because someone tapped you on the shoulder and said, ‘We need your help.’

“One thing I really would like to do is make sure that everyone is here is empowered and has the tools they need to do what they can for the Guild, and to give me and the entire leadership team input on decisions.

“If you are quiet for too long, I may call on you.

“I believe in managing expectations, and I believe that starts with saying we have expectations. There are expectations for all of us, and if you are an executive committee member, your role is important — stipend or not.

“The stipends are small and that’s not the reason you should be doing this. If we had to divvy the hourly rate with the work put in, we’d be homeless.

“The last time we looked at them, we dramatically cut them. I did want to take a look at them with an eye toward fairness.”

Tan handed out stipend proposals, which included changes of:

- Webmaster/Guild Reporter editor stipend is reduced from $1,500 to $800.

- The stipends for inside circulation steward (which is currently shared), classified steward and DM steward are increased from $250 to $300.

- Newsroom dayside/digital staff steward and the newsroom nightside steward, who previously did not receive a stipend, will now receive a stipend of $50.

Motion/Second/Carried Fairbanks/Davis to approve the new stipend proposal.

We still have opening for webmaster, Tan said, and she asked for help in finding someone to fill the role.

Tan discussed the TNG-CWA training seminar, which was attended by Colin Dabkowski last year.

M/S/C Fairbanks/Besecker to approve up to two members at the cost of $200 plus travel costs, to attend the annual TNG-CWA residential seminar for new local officers on March 3-6, 2017 at the Maritime Institute, 692 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights MD 21090.

Administrative Officer Kim Leiser notified the committee that the Guild is being audited by the Dept. of Labor. “It was just our turn,” she said. “First time since 10 years ago.”

Tan mentioned that the TNG sector conference and convention in August is in Pittsburgh this year. “It will be economical for us to send some folks, we especially want to encourage folks who have never been able to attend one.” The conference is Aug. 3-5 with the convention Aug. 6-8.

M/S/C Kirchberger/Davis to approve the executive committee minutes of January 2017

Tan, who has researched that adjourning a meeting does not require a motion, exerts her presidential power by eschewing the longstanding traditional “motion to adjourn” by adjourning the meeting all by her own self at 5:55 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Secretary Keith McShea, Past President Henry Davis, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, inside circulation delegate Diana Gawron, classified delegate Beverly Gniewecki, district manager chief steward Dick Fay, editorial dayside/digital chief steward Dan Kirchberger, editorial delegate/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley, editorial nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick, editorial delegates Trey Bankhead and Phil Fairbanks, alternate editorial delegate Scott Scanlon, guild members Matthew Furey and Michael Tatko.

Excused: Vice President/Mobilization Colin Dabkowski, inside circulation delegate Latrice Carr, editorial delegate Mike Harrington.

Absent: Treasurer and ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, classified delegate/chief steward Renee Mikler, editorial delegates David Robinson and Mark Sommer, alternate district manager delegate Bob Snyder, classified alternate delegate Jacqueline Kuma, classified alternate Alexa Finn.