Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Guild executive committee minutes: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:07 p.m Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

Vice President for Contract Enforcement Aaron Besecker delivered his committee report.

Besecker and President Sandy Tan had a meeting regarding freelancers in sports with Margaret Kenny and Josh Barnett. There will be two Sabres freelancers this year, including Bill Hoppe writing about prospects. It was noted that departed News Reporter Amy Moritz regularly did a prospects feature/roundup in recent years.

Chris Trapasso is writing four pieces a week, termed “non-analytical” by management, for BN Blitz.

“This definitely bears watching,” Tan said.

The committee discussed the freelance work, the Guild’s stance against it last year, how Digital Content Producers and the new contract language apply to the situation, and possible actions the Guild might consider taking.

“The reason we care about it, is that if we let jurisdiction slip, you end up with a department with one person, and that’s called the Features Department,” said Interim Vice President for Mobilization and Communication Colin Dabkowski.

Dabkowski then issued his mobilization report.

He said the Guild bought donuts for guild members on a day when the Guild distributed newly printed contracts.

The next issue of the Frontier Reporter will include interviews with new hires. “It will have the opposite of tone from last one,” Dabkowski said, referring to the tribute edition to members who left The News. “This one will introduce new members with short Q&As.” Luke Hammill will also be writing something about the Sun papers’ expansion.

New business

Guild Holiday party planning details were revealed by Administrative Officer Kim Leiser. A contract has been signed with Skyline Room of Templeton Landing for Friday, Dec. 14, which is the same location as 2016, when there were very positive reviews. Members will cost $5; everyone else costs $10. Instead of an open bar, everyone will get a drink ticket.

The costs are to avoid no-shows, of where there were many last year.

The party will run from 6 to 11 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. dinner; there is no entertainment scheduled at this point. After a brief discussion, Aaron and Colin go against the DJ-wishes of President Tan and say that a playlist and a sound system should do it.

Tan discussed how the Guild spent an enormous amount of time defending a Guild member that management attempted to discipline for this member’s use of social media.

Tan said that Mike Connelly is very conservative about what is perceived as bias when it comes to what goes out on social media. Connelly sent out 2016 and 2017 notes regarding political social media guidelines. Tan made a point to say that News management is monitoring your Twitter feed and public Facebook posts.

Sandy will address social media at Wednesday’s general membership meeting.

Three additional Guild members were hired for the Sun papers, which launch tomorrow in new markets Lancaster/Depew, Orchard Park and West Seneca.

Tan discussed how the Guild continues to work on a retiree chapter; past president Henry Davis will be involved in this effort, working with Tan and Leiser.

The Guild needed a minimum of five members to begin a chapter, Leiser said; “Henry and I got eight people signed up. Henry is submitting paperwork to the national.”

The chapter will have a formal name that denotes it is made up of retired and former members. Leiser noted that retiree chapters can operate politically; hopefully they can participate in mobilization efforts as well, she said. There is a one-time cost of $25.

Tan adjourned the meeting at 5:54 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Interim Vice President/Mobilization Colin Dabkowski, Treasurer and ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, Secretary Keith McShea, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser; district manager steward Joan Portman; Inside circulation delegate Diana Gawron; Sun papers steward Luke Hammill, editorial delegates Mark Sommer, nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick; editorial alternate delegate Scott Scanlon.

Excused: editorial delegates Mike Harrington and David Robinson.

Absent: Past president Phil Fairbanks, inside circulation delegate Latrice Carr, district manager co-stewards Matt Fuery and Mike Tatko, editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers, district manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder.