Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Guild executive committee meetings: Monday, September 28, 2020

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:04 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 via Zoom.

Motion/Second/Carried Besecker/Harrington to approve the executive committee minutes for July and August.

Tan said that the Tonawanda News mailers approved a new contract by a vote of 13-1. Administrative Officer Kim Leiser noted that the new contract included raises for part-timers and full-timers.

The committee welcomed Typographical Unit representative Hilary Osborn, who was participating in her first meeting.

Finance Committee report

Treasurer Diana Gawron said Leiser presented the 2021 budget. David Robinson said the budget is being recommended to the executive committee by the finance committee.

Due to rising internet costs, Leiser will transfer the office phone line to her personal wireless account and connect to the internet through her phone.

The committee recommended that $140,000 be transferred to the defense fund, where it would be a better investment.

M/S/C Gawron/Pesarchick to approve the proposed budget for 2020-2021 and transfer 140,000 from the Guild checking account to the Guild’s defense fund managed by Level Financial. The motion passed unanimously.

M/S/C Portman/Gawron to allow the Guild to transfer its current internet service and landline phone to a separate mobile phone account, which will be held by the administrative officer, at a cost savings to the Guild.

President’s Report 

Tan noted the passing of Lew Jeckovich, a longtime member of the Typographical unit.

M/S/C Osborn/Pesarchick to have the Guild make a $50 donation to the American Diabetes Association or the preferred charity in memory of Lew Jeckovich’s passing.

Tan reviewed the survey to members regarding equipment and working from home.

The committee had a lengthy discussion about the buyout negotiations between the Guild and management regarding the print desk and sports clerks.

M/S/C Tan/McShea to grant Tan and Leiser the authority to submit the Guild proposal to The News that:

  • print desk members be offered 52 weeks of severance, with the ability to allocate payments to health care premiums through the end of the year;
  • and that sports clerks be offered eight additional weeks of severance pay in addition to their contractual severance, have priority consideration for the immediate opening of a full-time position in Prepress, and have priority consideration for future openings for which they would be qualified.

Tan discussed her recent meeting with Publisher Tom Wiley and mentioned that Wiley and other executive members will be at the Oct. 1 socially-distanced gathering at The News featuring food from Guild member and food critic Andrew Galarneau.

Grievance Committee Report

Vice President for Contract Enforcement Aaron Besecker said the committee voted to approve two grievances.

One involves management doing Guild work in ABC; management had told the Guild that work was being done by Guild workers, but that was not the case.

Another involves the prevalence of sponsored content on BuffaloNews.com that has become an issue since the move to the new Lee Enterprises-based web site.

Mobilization Committee Report

Vice President for Mobilization/Communication Rachel Lenzi said the #ThisIsGuildWork campaign has been continuing for the last three to four weeks. The committee discussed the status and goals of the campaign, and Lenzi said she intends to communicate the urgency of the campaign at the general membership meeting tomorrow.

“As long as we keep this front and center, management will know that we are serious,” Lenzi said.

Lenzi said the Frontier Reporter copy is in and that it’s just a matter of finding time to post it. Tan said “let’s try to get that done before the next executive meeting.”

New business 

There was a discussion regarding customer service and district managers, where policy may be being changed without talking with the Guild. Leiser and Gawron will talk to managers about this.

Tan adjourned the meeting at 7:18 p.m.

Attendance: President Sandy Tan, Vice President/Grievances Aaron Besecker, Vice President/Mobilization Rachel Lenzi, Treasurer and Inside Circulation steward Diana Gawron, Secretary Keith McShea, Administrative Officer Kim Leiser, District Manager steward Joan Portman, Typographical nightside steward Hilary Osborn, Sun Papers steward Lian Bunny, Editorial nightside steward Mike Pesarchick, Editorial delegate Mike Harrington, Editorial delegate David Robinson.

Excused: Editorial delegate Mark Sommer, District Manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder.

Absent: ABC steward Felice McMillion, Typographical dayside steward Mark Hanover, Past President Phil Fairbanks, Editorial delegate Scott Scanlon, Editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers.