Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

News

    Sun paper expansion results in more hiring, raises for Sun-based Guild members

    Friday, September 21, 2018 by Colin Dabkowski

    9.19.18 — The Buffalo News is moving forward with its expansion of weekly Sun papers, committing to launching three additional weeklies in addition to the Hamburg Sun and Kenmore-Tonawanda Sun papers that operate now.

    And that is good news for the Guild.

    Next month, The News will launch the Orchard Park Sun, the Lancaster-Depew Sun and the West Seneca Sun papers. That expansion will involve the hiring of two new reporters and an additional full-time page designer, all of whom are covered under a new agreement reached between the Guild and management.

    The agreement represents a win for both sides. It maintains the hiring and work-rule flexibility built into prior agreements yet provides new wage scale improvements that will help The News attract and retain good employees.

    Among the key improvements:

    • Guild reporters and page designers working for The Sun papers will now receive raises every year as part of a four-step wage scale, as opposed to the prior agreement, which resulted in Guild members waiting two years for a raise.
    • Top-of-scale wages were raised for Guild reporters and page designers at The Sun. For a full-time reporter, for instance, top annual wages would rise from $38,045 to $40,886.
    • Any Guild employee at The Sun who fills in when the editor is away will now be compensated at the Group C two-year rate, an increase of more than 25 percent over the prior agreement.

    As with past agreements, The News maintains the right to hire Guild members for The Sun on a full-time or part-time basis, and editors may write a limited number of municipal/school district stories that otherwise fall under Guild jurisdiction.

    Guild members working at The Sun papers will continue to enjoy virtually all other contract protections and provisions as other Guild members at The News. The new agreement also retains language that anyone who writes for The Sun papers, both Guild and non-Guild, adhere to professional journalism and ethics standards.

    The rapid expansion of The Sun papers since July of last year, when the Guild negotiated its first Hamburg Sun agreement with management, has grown into a true bright spot for the union. What began modestly as the hiring of one part-time Guild reporter for The Hamburg Sun has evolved into the employment of two full-time reporters, one full-time page designer, one part-time page designer and three other part-time reporters. With the addition of the three new papers, The News is hiring two additional non-Guild editors, as well as a sports editor.

    Sun paper publisher Brian Connolly said the addition of new positions, both part time and full time, reflect his commitment to producing a high-quality news product and his desire to retain talent.

    That commitment is shared by the Guild.

    “The new agreement between the Guild and The News reflects the same commitment both sides made a year ago to create a profitable and sustainable new venture for the company,” said Guild President Sandy Tan. “The Hamburg Sun is now a money-making paper, and the Kenmore-Tonawanda Sun continues to show signs of promise, with consistent growth since its launch less than a year ago. Our continued hope is that the three new weeklies will follow the same upward path.”

    Guild members reel from 17 buyouts, honor colleagues and look ahead

    Friday, September 7, 2018 by Colin Dabkowski

    There is no way of spinning this positively.

    Though we have known for at least a decade that tougher times were on the horizon — and that The Buffalo News has been comparatively lucky in this decimated industry — that foreknowledge has not blunted the pain and disappointment of this moment.

    By mid-July, when the last of those targeted for a buyout walked out of the newsroom, 17 Guild members had left The News. The skills they took with them — decades of experience editing, headline-writing, reporting, designing and using their collective talent to tell the stories that mattered — leaves our institution greatly diminished.

    The sudden departure of so many of valued colleagues leaves those of us who remain feeling numb. And it leaves our loyal readers wondering about its inevitable effect on the quality of the newspaper we put out every day and the website we update every minute.

    Even so, our pride in our important work remains. We believe we continue to bring immense value to the community. Though our ranks are reduced, our passion and commitment to the job remains strong. And we hope our readers will stick with us as we work harder than ever to deliver the news and information our community needs and deserves.

    As we press ahead into what promises to be an even more difficult period for The News and for the entire industry, we wanted to honor those who are no longer part of the Guild family. Their contributions to The News, and to Western New York, are impossible to quantify. Their work and presence will be sorely missed.

    Scroll down to read their stories.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Guild members reel from 17 buyouts, honor colleagues and look ahead

    Friday, September 7, 2018 by Colin Dabkowski

    There is no way of spinning this positively.

    Though we have known for at least a decade that tougher times were on the horizon — and that The Buffalo News has been comparatively lucky in this decimated industry — that foreknowledge has not blunted the pain and disappointment of this moment.

    By mid-July, when the last of those targeted for a buyout walked out of the newsroom, 17 Guild members had left The News. The skills they took with them — decades of experience editing, headline-writing, reporting, designing and using their collective talent to tell the stories that mattered — leaves our institution greatly diminished.

    The sudden departure of so many of valued colleagues leaves those of us who remain feeling numb. And it leaves our loyal readers wondering about its inevitable effect on the quality of the newspaper we put out every day and the website we update every minute.

    Even so, our pride in our important work remains. We believe we continue to bring immense value to the community. Though our ranks are reduced, our passion and commitment to the job remains strong. And we hope our readers will stick with us as we work harder than ever to deliver the news and information our community needs and deserves.

    As we press ahead into what promises to be an even more difficult period for The News and for the entire industry, we wanted to honor those who are no longer part of the Guild family. Their contributions to The News, and to Western New York, are impossible to quantify. Their work and presence will be sorely missed.

    Scroll down to read their stories.

    Join us for the Labor Day Parade

    Friday, August 31, 2018 by The Guild

    Guild leadership is strongly encouraging all members and their families to attend this year’s Labor Day Parade, where we will remind the community of our important work. 

    The parade will head down Abbott Road in South Buffalo to Cazenovia Park, where free hotdogs, hamburgers, snacks and drinks will be provided to all. There will be shuttle buses from Cazenovia Park starting at the Casino and going to the corner of Stevenson and Cumberland avenues from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. For people who park at the beginning of the parade route, there will be return busses from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. The food begins being served at 1:00pm at the Casino. Family members are invited join.

    We ask all participants to wear their red Guild shirts. It’s been a while since we’ve used them, so if you don’t have one or need a different size, see Colin Dabkowski in editorial. He will bring extras on Monday.

    When: Please arrive by 11:30 a.m. Monday. Parade begins at noon.

    Where: Guild members will gather at the corner of Abbott Road and Stevenson Street. Park at either end of the parade route. Consider coordinating with another person to prevent having to walk back to your vehicle. 

    Guild statement on freedom of the press

    Thursday, August 16, 2018 by Colin Dabkowski

    “No matter how imperfect things are, if you’ve got a free press everything is correctible, and without it everything is concealable.” — Tom Stoppard, spoken by the character Jacob Milne in the play “Night and Day,” 1937

    These words greet Buffalo News journalists every day as we walk into the newsroom. They serve as a constant reminder of our duty to hold the powerful accountable and to expose injustice.

    Whatever your political beliefs, the existence of a free press has been widely embraced as an essential pillar of this democracy. It is enshrined in the Constitution, the First Amendment of which is etched in glass in our lobby.

    But make no mistake: The press is now under attack.

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    Buyouts result in painful newsroom losses

    Friday, June 8, 2018 by The Guild

    The Editorial Department of The Buffalo News is expected to lose at least 16 Guild members as a result of targeted and voluntary buyouts that the company made available last month. The loss of so many veteran newsroom staffers at once is deeply troubling to the Guild.

    Prior to these departures, the Guild represented 100 members on the newsroom floor, encompassing everyone responsible for reporting, fact-checking, designing and producing the paper, with the exception of upper management.

    The buyouts, as they stand, represent a loss of 16 percent of the Guild-represented newsroom staff, and nearly a fifth of staff reporters and columnists.

    “There’s no sugarcoating what a blow this is to journalism in Western New York,” said Guild President Sandy Tan. “We’re losing respected colleagues whose work has been invaluable to this newsroom and to this community.”

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    Targeted buyouts in Editorial follow first-quarter losses from The News

    Tuesday, June 5, 2018 by The Guild

    The past few weeks have yielded a bumper crop of bad news for The News, and consequently, for Guild members. The News experienced its worst first quarter in decades and has embarked on a series of cost-cutting measures, including buyouts on the newsroom floor.

    In May, management offered cash buyouts to nine Guild members in the Editorial Department.

    The employees were told their jobs were either being eliminated or their hours slashed. The Guild members whom management approached included copy editors, designers, part-time reporters and clerical staff. More newsroom buyouts are expected.

    In some ways, these painful events highlight the importance of the Guild at this paper. Since the buyouts were offered, the Guild has moved into high gear, disseminating information, negotiating better buyout packages and safeguarding Guild member rights.

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    Vince “Jim” Ippolito

    Monday, April 16, 2018 by Daniel Kirchberger

    Vincent “Jim” Ippolito Sr., a former Guild member of Local 26 who helped organize the district managers at the Courier Express in the early 1960s, passed away Saturday, April 14.

    Friends may call at the Hole-Parker Funeral Chapel, 160 Central Ave. in Silver Creek on Wednesday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. in the same location.

    More infromation: IPPOLITO, Vincent E., Sr. “Jim”

    Volunteers needed for Guild’s annual community project with Riverkeeper

    Thursday, April 5, 2018 by The Guild

    What: Buffalo Newspaper Guild’s annual cleanup event.
    When: 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 21. Please arrive shortly before 9:45 a.m.
    Where: Ohio Street Boat Launch, 421 Ohio St., near Father Conway Park on South Street.
    Register: BNWaterKeeper.org/cleanup

    A litter cleanup of the small park at the Ohio Street Boat Launch on Saturday, April 21 will mark the seventh year of a Guild initiative to aid the Spring Shoreline Cleanup coordinated by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

    The annual effort is conducted in memory of our late friend and reporter John “Jay” Bonfatti. Jay, who died in 2008, loved the outdoors and believed strongly in caring for the environment.

    Guild members, with volunteers from other groups, have helped clear tons of trash from this location, which has improved significantly in recent years with new developments.
    Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting our major waterways. The cleanup involves more than 1,000 volunteers at about 40 sites.

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    Guild members vote to ratify tentative agreement

    Thursday, February 15, 2018 by The Guild

    The tentative agreement between The Buffalo News and the Guild was ratified today by a vote of 80-7.

    The three-year agreement, ending in July 2021, extends the current contract with no wage cuts or givebacks.

    The News also agreed to the Guild’s pilot project proposal to create a new job class, digital content producer, and restricts online freelancers from regular beat coverage, stories with high-anticipated news value, enterprise reporting or subject matter requiring ongoing coverage.