Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Guild executive committee minutes: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:06 p.m, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

Motion/Second/Carried Fairbanks/Tan to approve the general meeting minutes for January.
“They are very entertaining,” Tan said. “I encourage everyone to read them.”
Secretary Keith McShea said he would check past month’s minutes to make sure all had been approved.

VP for Contract Administration Aaron Besecker issued his committee report.

A grievance meeting prior to this meeting.


There are no new grievances. Besecker said the comittee is looking into issues involving sports clerk pay, and copy editing.

Two previously-filed grievances involving Niagara Weekend photos and freelancers are still outstanding.

VP for Mobilization Dan Kirchberger issued his committee report.

Kirchberger announced that the Guild would be moving its email notifications to mailchimp and that he is planning to migrate the guild web site from wordpress to squarespace, which he said would cost more

A Happy Hour did not happen this month but there are plans to get one going this month.

President Sandy Tan said there is a need for a DM steward.

One of the open editorial positions, it was recommended by Tan, could come from the Hamburg/Tonawanda Sun workers.

Tan recapped the contract ratification vote.

In the Feb. 15 vote, 87 people cast ballots, which is 47 percent of the Guild membership. The final tally was: 80 yes, 7 no.

Sandy Tan said she would be taking the bargaining team out to dinner as a thank-you.

Administrative Officer Kim Leiser reported on the Guild office.

“At the end of February, we got an email from our management company notifying us that one of the other tenants were interested in our space, and offered more money for our space.”

Leiser said the rent has been raised. We signed a one-year lease at $360/month. That’s a $60 raise; our first raise in four years. We had been on a month-to-month lease since 2010.

Aaron Besecker and Dan Kirchberger attended a Newspaper Guild new local officers training seminar in Maryland (Aaron displayed his seminar binder to the committee).

There were attendees from the Los Angeles Times along with Baltimore and Chicago papers, there were professors from Pittsburgh, interpreters representative from Cook County (Illinois).
Attendees discussed contract negotiations, grievances, mobilization, bargaining and more.

The seminar was attended by national staff, including president Bernie Lunzer and executive vice president Marian Needham.

“It was pretty intense,” Besecker said, who noted there were full days that including mock bargaining.

Besecker also won a book after winning a contest at the seminar.

“It was really worth it,” said Besecker. “It was inspiring. … even though I’ve been a vice president for a couple of years, and I’m not as new as aimed for for that seminar, it was totally worth it.”

Kirchberger said it was “nice to meet people that were around our age who were organizing new units and learning about the challenges they are facing that are similar to us. It made us feel better about the position we are in and the contract we have.”

Kirchberger noted that “there were a number of times that our language in our contract was brought up as ideal language.”

Sandy then led a Buffalo Magazine discussion.

Trey met with Jennifer Lata Rung, who is trying to do more with the magazine.

Rung wanted guild members to write, but management said no.

Tan thought it was worth a discussion to explore.

However, Tan noted that Guild members would not compromise our ethical standards insofar as writing about advertisers.
“If there’s no way to adapt their editorial standard to the Buffalo News standard,” Tan siad. “Then there’s no way. … Given the fact that is very much an advertising-driven publication, and there would be no autonomy for the reporter, there was no way we could work together.”

Sandy emphasized that it was worth exploring. “If there is somewhere that our company is expanding its editorial reach, we should at least have a conversation about it.”It was noted by Ellen Pryzpasniak that Buffalo.com digital, and it’s presence on the BuffaloNews.com home page, needs to be part of the discussion.

Mark Sommer reported on [BN] Green, the News’ recycling project.

“We throw away tons of paper,” Sommer said. “We got Cascade involved, worked out plan, to recycle all the paper together. At least we’re doing paper.”

Sommer learned that we make a lot of money off of recycling. “So we made this work, we’ve got these totes, and 96-gallon containers on each floor. For two weeks we’ve been recycling. We’ve gotten lots of positive comments, which is so rare on the third floor.”

Sommer noted that employees have to take containers down to loading dock late Tuesdays – that duty would otherwise fall on cleaning or maintenance staff, which all wanted to avoid.

“It takes a little time to make it work,” Sommer said of toting the totes, “but it feels good.”

Tan and Henry Davis said there will again be a Jay Bonfatti Riverkeeper outing.

Sandy Tan adjourned the meeting at 5:55 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Vice President/Mobilization Dan Kirchberger, Secretary Keith McShea, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, past president Henry Davis, inside circulation delegate Diana Gawron, editorial delegate/clerks chief steward Susan Kelley, editorial delegates Mike Harrington, Mark Sommer, nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick and  Frontier Reporter editor Ellen Pryzpasniak.

Excused: Treasurer and ABC chief steward Felice McMillion.Absent: Editorial delegates Phil Fairbanks, David Robinson and Trey Bankhead, district manager co-steward David Williams, inside circulation delegate Latrice Carr, district manager co-steward Phil Tavernier, editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers, district manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder,  editorial alternate delegate Scott Scanlon.