Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Guild executive committee meeting minutes: Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

President Sandy Tan called the meeting to order at 5:02 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 via Zoom.

Motion/Second/Carried Tan/Leiser to approve the executive committee minutes for September.

Tan reported that four sports clerks took the buyout offered by The News, while clerk Ted Wasko moved to the prepress department in a transfer that was negotiated as part of the buyout agreement between The News and the Guild.

Grievance Committee Report

Vice President for Contract Enforcement Aaron Besecker said The News “swiftly rejected” an Oct. 13 grievance related to sponsored content on BuffaloNews.com. Management rejected the grievance by citing the Guild’s nonexclusive jurisdiction to the online news product.

Another October grievance 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. Executive Officer Kim Leiser said that the head of accounting said the work would be returned to the Guild.

Leiser and District Managers Steward Joan Portman discussed a scheduling situation related to training sessions.

Mobilization Committee Report

Vice President for Mobilization/Communication Rachel Lenzi said she would be requesting updated contact information from members for the purposes of updating the messenger list.

Secretary Keith McShea asked if a social media post regarding the sponsored content would be appropriate, which would perhaps include the worst examples of the stories/advertisements. Lenzi, Aaron Besecker and committee members agreed.

Tan asked about the Frontier Reporter; Lenzi said it was close to being finalized; Tan said she would love it out soon.

New business 

Upcoming bargaining and negotiations were discussed.

M/S/C Robinson/Harrington to name Kim Leiser, Sandy Tan, Aaron Besecker, Diana Gawron and Mike McAndrew to the Guild bargaining team. Motion carried unanimously; Besecker abstained from the vote.

Keith McShea and Caitlin Dewey will be part of a digital jurisdiction subcommittee, Tan said.

Future meeting dates were discussed. Dates that had been provided on an agenda are being withdrawn due to the Erie County Executive’s Covid-19 press conference schedule making it difficult for Tan to cover those and attend meetings on the same day.

The next scheduled meeting remains Wed. Dec. 9.

Tan encouraged the committee to consider what kind of questions/topics they would like to see covered in a survey the Guild is preparing for its membership prior to bargaining.

Tan said that in lieu of a holiday party that the Guild send a holiday card to members with a little gift, perhaps an ornament. The committee discussed the matter and several suggested gift cards to all members.

A $20 gift card was suggested; various forms/stores were discussed; Robinson suggested it be from Tops, The News’ largest local sponsor.

M/S/C Fairbanks/Portman to transfer $3,000 from the Guild checking account to its social activities line for the purposes of purchasing $20 Tops gift cards to every dues-paying member.

A Sun papers mentoring program was mentioned, where the Guild would match up News reporters with Sun personnel. The Guild is soliciting for volunteers who would be mentors.

Besecker mentioned now that sports clerks no longer work at The News following the buyouts, that the Guild should monitor how their work is being distributed. McShea agrees to check up on this.

Tan adjourned the meeting at 6:25 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 dayside steward Hilary Osborn, Sun Papers steward Lian Bunny, Editorial delegate Mike Harrington, Editorial delegate David Robinson, Editorial delegate Mark Sommer, Past President Phil Fairbanks.

Excused: District Manager alternate delegate Bob Snyder.

Absent: Typographical nightside steward Mark Hanover, Editorial nightside steward Mike Pesarchick, Editorial delegate Scott Scanlon, Editorial alternate delegate Jeff Miers.