Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Guild executive committee minutes: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:02 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 at The News’ second-floor conference room, One News Plaza.

Motion/Second/Carried McShea/Harrington to approve the executive committee minutes of the September 2019 meeting.

Finance report

Kim Leiser and President Sandy Tan discussed how the finance committee met in the beginning of October to put together a provisional spending plan that would get the Guild through our merger with the Typographical Union.

No budget is ready now because finances will change when the merger goes through, they said. The finance committee has approved a transitional spending plan based on usual finances as well as projected numbers. The full budget for 2020 is expected at next month’s meeting.

MSC Fairbanks/Sommer to accept a the interim spending plan until we have a formal budget.

President’s report from Sandy Tan.

A bylaws committee of Mike Harrington, Diana Gawron, Sandy Tan and Kim Leiser has been formed and their work has started, Tan said.

Tan reported that LiKu Gao has been signed up as temporary guild member; graphics is going from Macs to PCs, “a very stressful process,” and the hire is to help remedy a concern about potential work slowdowns. Gao will be a temporary guild member through end of the year to ease that transition.

Tan said that Margaret Kenny said that an opening for Digital Content Editor has been posted, resumes have come in and interviewing has begun.

New business

Tan reported that last month a tentative merger agreement was worked on with Buffalo-Niagara Typographical Union No. 9 CWA Local 14148, which represented printing-related employees throughout Western New York, including 24 active employees at The Buffalo News.

The merger was passed by the Typographical Union by a vote of 66-1.

Committee members reviewed a timeline of the merger.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with the leadership of the typographical local,” said Tan. “Coming up with this agreement could have been much more difficult, but we were likeminded and we all wanted this to go as smoothly as possible for the benefit of their members. … They seemed very energetic and they had lots of great questions (when Guild leaders met with them). I’m very excited to welcome them as members to our union.”

M/S/C Fairbanks Sommer to approve a five-page merger agreement between The Buffalo Newspaper Guild and  Buffalo-Niagara Typographical Union No. 9 CWA Local 14148.

The executive committee’s vote was unanimous and was followed by applause.

Tan and Typographical Union President Harold Rehm signed the necessary paperwork for the CWA.

“I thought about the history of the typographical union, that I would be the one who put it to bed, and I didn’t want to be the person to put it out of business,” said Rehm, noting that the unit was founded in 1852. “Looking at this point on, there was no other option. … Overall, I’m happy the way things worked out.”

Rehm had served as president of the typographical union since 1993.

“We appreciate your leadership,” Tan said to Rehm. “We are sure this is bittersweet change for you, and we can assure you we will do everything we can to safeguard typographical members, and make sure they are represented. Thank you Harold for everything you done.”

That was followed by another round of applause.

Tan reported that there will be a do-over in the election for TNG national president. Leiser said the election will be Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tan said that next month the Guild will accept nominations for all offices in the Guild. If uncontested, people will be elected by acclaim. Tan said Felice McMillion will be stepping down as treasurer and that a flyer will be sent out regarding elections.

M/S/C Harrington/Besecker to appoint Rachel Lenzi as interim vice president for communication and mobilization, to finish the term vacated by Colin Dabkowski that ends this calendar year.

Leiser said the annual holiday party is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 13 at Templeton Landing.

M/S/C Besecker/Gawron to approve $500 funding for the holiday party.

Leiser assumes the prices will be the same, $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers, and all Typographical Union members will be invited.

M/S/C Gawron/Portman to approve $1,000 for anticipated Typographical Union merger expenses, including money for hiring movers, moving of files, vacating their current office and moving things to the Guild office as well as welcoming expenses.

A short discussion was had about digital freelancers, including Sabres work by Bill Hoppe which falls into what Mike Harrington, Keith McShea and other committee members falls into the “core coverage” category that the Guild should be concerned about. Discussion notes that The News remedied a situation in which Melinda Miller was doing freelance work, that Chris Trapasso no longer writes Bills freelance posts and that Erik Brady’s columns have been at times concerning from a freelance perspective, at times not as much.

Tan adjourned the meeting at 6:06 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Secretary Keith McShea, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, district manager steward Joan Portman,  inside circulation delegate Diana Gawron, editorial delegate Mike Harrington, editorial delegate Mark Sommer, past president Phil Fairbanks,

Excused: Treasurer and ABC chief steward Felice McMillion, editorial delegate David Robinson, editorial alternate delegate Scott Scanlon.

Absent: Sun papers steward Lian Bunny, nightside chief steward Mike Pesarchick, district manager co-stewards Matt Fuery and Mike Tatko, editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers,  district manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder.