Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Guild expands its jurisdiction at Sun papers (And other news)

11.9.17 – As The Buffalo News expands its weekly newspaper business, the Buffalo Newspaper Guild is expanding its jurisdiction.

The Guild late last month renegotiated its former Hamburg Sun jurisdiction agreement with management at The News to include the Tonawanda Sun weekly paper, published under the names the Twin Cities Sun and the Ken-Ton Sun. The editorial content will be identical — only the flags and teasers of the publications will differ for marketing purposes.

The renegotiated agreement now extends editorial jurisdiction over the Twin Cities Sun and the Ken-Ton Sun, publications whose first editions are planned for Nov. 17.

As established with the initial agreement reached in July regarding The Hamburg Sun, the News agreed to hire part-time and/or full-time employees to work as reporters.

In addition to reporters, this new agreement also states the News will hire a page designer, who will be a Guild member, to perform design and layout work for editorial content at the Hamburg and Tonawanda Sun weeklies.

“The new agreement not only carries over the terms negotiated for the Hamburg Sun, but also expands Guild positions and promotes a more dynamic and professional look for the Sun papers,” said Guild President Sandy Tan. “That benefits both the Guild and The News.”

The Guild expects four new part-time Guild positions to be created as a result of the new agreement – three reporters and one page designer. The News has already posted these positions and is hiring immediately.

Some key terms of the new agreement include:

  • As under the Hamburg Sun deal, reporters will be hired at the Editorial Group D beginner rate and progress to the one-year rate after two years.
  • Under the new agreement, editorial page designers will be hired at the Editorial Group E one-year rate and after two years will progress to the Editorial Group E two-year rate. The Sun papers’ editors are not precluded from doing design or layout work. News editorial employees may also provide occasional assistance and guidance.
  • The new agreement also opens the door for the possibility of The News hiring a Guild photographer, though this is not required. As with the Hamburg Sun agreement, Sun reporters are permitted to take photos that run in print in the Sun papers only.
  • When Guild staffers fill in Sun paper editors, they will receive a differential equal to Editorial Group C pay. And with the exception of the editor, Guild members at The Sun will have exclusive jurisdiction of all major municipality and school district coverage, based on the same town population and school district enrollment jurisdiction thresholds that exist for reporters at The News.

Other terms written into the initial Hamburg Sun agreement carry over with the new deal.

For instance, while the Guild also agreed to allow stringers to write articles that fall outside municipal and school district jurisdiction, Guild members must be given preference over stringers for coverage of stories with anticipated high news value.

In addition, the Guild requires that all stringers, reporters and editors for The Sun adhere to the same Code of Ethics and journalism standards that are followed at The News.

The Sun editor may write up to three articles per edition that fall within Guild jurisdiction. Management sought the ability for the editor’s duties to be somewhat flexible, given the nature of work at weekly papers.

Guild members at The Sun are eligible for employment at The News. However, The News would not be required to hire them. Anyone from The Sun who is hired at The News would be credited with their length of service at The Sun for vacation and pay purposes.

Outside of these exceptions, Guild members at the Hamburg Sun are entitled to the same contract protections and benefits as all other Guild members. The deal signed by both sides on Oct. 27 supersedes the original Hamburg Sun agreement from July.

“I think the new agreement should give every Guild member cause to celebrate,” Tan said. “We’ve protected the Sun papers’ journalistic integrity, safeguarded Guild interests and given The News the tools it needs to produce a product can ultimately be successful. We look forward to its publication.”

In other Guild news:

  • Colin Dabkowski, our vice president for mobilization and communication, has decided to step down from his position to refocus on other priorities. He has been an outstanding contributor to the Guild leadership team and to the Mobilization Committee. We will miss his insights and leadership, and thank him for all his contributions. His departure, however, means the Guild is now looking for a new vice president who can oversee communication and mobilization work on behalf of the Guild. Prior experience and involvement is not required, but candidates should demonstrate initiative, a willingness to learn, a commitment to transparency and to working with other Guild leaders and with the Guild’s Frontier Reporter and website editor. A modest stipend is provided due to the time commitments involved with this important position. Please contact Sandy Tan or Administrative Officer Kim Leiser if you are interested.
  • Mark your calendars for the Guild Holiday Party, scheduled for Friday night, Dec. 8. Party admission is free for all Guild members, $10 for guests, and $5 for retirees. Free open bar for the first hour. Be on the lookout for a separate flier on this fun event.
  • The Guild remains deeply concerned about the extended use of freelancers for core Bills coverage as part of the BN Blitz digital product. We continue to actively seek resolution to this matter and are considering what, if any, future steps should be taken.
  • The Cash Cow Contest, a collaborative effort between The Guild and The News, was great big success. The News distributed $2,250 in cash prizes to five finalists, three of whom were Guild members. Additional prizes were awarded to semifinalists, and the Guild contributed a total of $275 in cash prizes to all finalists and semi-finalists. More than 40 percent of ideas were contributed by Guild members.
  • A good way to stay abreast of Guild news and grievances, as well as find information about our contract, bylaws, meeting dates and contact information for all Guild leaders is to visit our website, www.buffaloguild.org. That site is regularly updated and a good resource for anyone looking for more information.