Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

News

    News to close or merge four weekly Sun papers, three Guild members laid off

    Saturday, January 9, 2021 by The Guild

    The Guild has been informed that The Buffalo News will shut down two weekly Sun papers, and merge two others, resulting in the layoff of two part-time Guild reporters and one full-time Guild page designer.
     
    One Sun editor will also be laid off. Two other Guild Sun reporters also recently resigned.

    Both the Twin Cities Sun and Lancaster-Depew Sun papers will fold on Jan. 22. In addition, the West Seneca Sun and Orchard Park Sun papers will be combined into a single weekly paper. 

    The Hamburg Sun will continue unchanged.

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    Reasons to be proud as the Guild closes out 2020

    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 by The Guild

    A version of this letter by President Sandy Tan was previously emailed to Guild members and summarizes the many accomplishments of the Guild over the past year as we look back on 2020. 

    At a time when we’ve all been working under some of the most stressful conditions we’ve ever endured, the Buffalo Newspaper Guild has helped make it possible for us to continue to do great work while safeguarding members’ livelihoods and working conditions. continue»

    Fairbanks retures after 34 years at the News, but will remain as Guild advisor

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 by The Guild

    A year into his tenure as a reporter at The Buffalo News, a columnist approached Phil Fairbanks and asked if he would be interested in working with the Buffalo Newspaper Guild.

    At the time, Fairbanks was covering business and labor, and was taking classes at Cornell’s ILR School, which specialized in labor relations and union organizing. But Ray Hill, the News’ longtime columnist, insisted that Fairbanks join the Guild’s bargaining team in 1987. Fairbanks’ role became vital as the Guild negotiated its next contract with management — Fairbanks coordinated posters and handed out buttons to fellow Guild members throughout the process of negotiations. Those tokens reminded the Guild and News employees what they were fighting for.

    “The News wanted us to pay 20 percent of our health insurance premium, and that’s when other employers were going after that, and that was when the News was making money, hand over fist, a million dollars a week,” Fairbanks said. “When most workers were paying for their health care, we weren’t.

    “But that’s what I’m most proud of, that first mobilization campaign. That’s when you see the solidarity of the union, and now, that makes me feel good about what I’m leaving behind.” continue»

    Sponsored content and The News — and what you need to know about it

    Sunday, November 22, 2020 by The Guild

    The Buffalo News is trying to fool you into thinking advertisements are journalism.

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    Lee Enterprises, which owns The News, is apparently OK with letting readers think that ads — also known as “sponsored content” — should look like the real journalism produced by our hard-working Guild members. Our repeated objections have been ignored.

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    Discerning readers, with some effort, might be able to tell the difference. But why mislead them? Trying to trick and deceive our readers into thinking they’re actually getting news is offensive to the professionals whose job is to deliver trusted information.

    Over the past few months, there have been many examples of this ongoing problem, with items posted on the website that masquerade as news articles, as well as social media posts that are displayed just like actual news headlines, without any labeling. This has to stop.

    Some instances have been particularly egregious.

    When an ad is made to look similar to a news story, and fails to adequately be labeled so that readers know what they’re looking at, it hurts the credibility of The Buffalo News.

    The Guild has raised our objections with local management. They rejected the union’s grievance.

    Labeling sponsored content, which is what the Guild is asking for, isn’t hard.

    The whole situation is embarrassing and unnecessary. Lee Enterprises should start clearly labeling these ads. #ItsAnAd

    Atlantic labeled tweet

    Update on freelancer issues with Buffalo News management

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by The Guild

    The Buffalo Newspaper Guild informed its membership June 8 that some digital freelancers increased how much they wrote for The Buffalo News while Guild members are furloughed, according to the Guild’s research.

    Management has responded to our flier, saying that overall freelance spending for the month of April is down compared with the same period last year, and the Guild’s position is wrong.

    We don’t think so. Instead, we fear management is missing the point.

    Management’s response also included having a freelancer write columns on two of the biggest stories in the country: the Buffalo Bills’ first black QB discussing the George Floyd protests, and an interview with the WBFO reporter who shot the video of Martin Gugino being pushed by Buffalo police.

    Guild members should find this egregious and wholly unacceptable. continue»

    Guild members show support during furlough on social media

    Thursday, June 11, 2020 by The Guild

    The Guild has begun engaging in acts of solidarity on social media since the furloughs began for all other Guild members. That includes changing social media images/avatars to the black Guild logo, “going dark” on social media and encouraging people to subscribe to The News through a special subscription link, which makes it clear that people are subscribing specifically in support of our members.

    As always, while the Guild is physically separated, all members will continue to receive important updates via email, buffaloguild.org and through our Twitter and Facebook accounts, which includes messages we encourage all Guild members to share.

    Link to Guild subscription special: https://bit.ly/3bKlgUa

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    What is it like to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic?

    Thursday, June 11, 2020 by The Guild

    The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted how we live and how we work, particularly for Guild members in the newsroom of The Buffalo News. Mike McAndrew, the News’ watchdog team editor and a member of the Guild’s Executive Committee, and Sean Kirst, news-side columnist, share their perspectives on how the working landscape has individually and collectively changed because of the pandemic.

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    Warren Colville called “forward-thinking leader” as he retires

    Thursday, June 11, 2020 by The Guild

    Warren Colville has stepped down as publisher of The Buffalo News, a change that raises a flood of concerns regarding the future of the paper under Lee Enterprises.

    Colville announced May 5 that he is stepping down from his post after 33 years with the News, including his tenure as president, which began in 2001, and as president and publisher, which began in 2013. continue»

    Guild votes for furlough agreements

    Thursday, June 11, 2020 by The Guild

    Buffalo Newspaper Guild members voted 65-2 on April 10 in favor of a tentative agreement that will allow Buffalo News management to furlough Guild members across the board, for the first time.

    The approval of the agreement reflects member support for a plan the Guild bargaining team devised, which mitigates financial losses to members with little-to-no cost to the company.

    It also reflects the mutual concern of both management and the Guild about the paper’s financial state, during the Covid-19 pandemic. A week later, Guild members in the Typographical Unit representing Prepress employees at The Buffalo News voted unanimously on April 17 in favor of a tentative agreement that will allow Buffalo News management to furlough most members for up to five weeks. continue»

    Newsroom management expands use of freelancers while Guild members are furloughed

    Monday, June 8, 2020 by The Guild

    At the same time the owners of The Buffalo News pushed to have every member of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild take two weeks of furlough, newsroom management found one way to cover for having fewer workers around.

    They got some freelancers to do more.

    While Guild members were forced to stay home from work and give up paychecks, at least two digital freelancers increased how much they wrote for the News, according to the Guild’s research.

    This is occurring even though Guild leaders shared concerns with management, just prior to the scheduling of furloughs, about the increased use of freelancers during this difficult time. In response, management assured us they did not intend to expand the use of freelancers and were looking to scale back freelance usage during the furlough period.

    Yet what some freelancers have written has steadily continued to encroach on the type of work Guild members have done or are doing.

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