Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026


    Guild launches new website, new mobilization campaign

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 by The Guild

    4.29.2021 — In this week’s round of bargaining, The Buffalo News/Lee Enterprises rejected the Guild’s digital jurisdiction proposal and reproposed language to dismantle our job security protections and outsource Guild work out of state and out of country.

    As a result, the Guild is moving forward with a campaign to raise community awareness. The campaign includes active social media messaging and a new website, www.ProtectLocalJournalism.com

    The Guild offered a package proposal Monday to outsource call center work for Inside Circulation to a U.S-based Lee call center in exchange for buyouts equivalent to a year’s pay and health care coverage. As part of the package proposal, the Guild required the company to withdraw its proposal to outsource Accounting, and the Guild put forth a proposal to insource page design work to our world-class, award-winning design team.

    These terms were rejected.

    The News/Lee also rejected every newsroom-based proposal designed to safeguard the integrity of local journalism. These include the digital jurisdiction proposal to ensure staff reporters and photographers can’t be replaced by freelancers on our own website. These also include proposals to label sponsored content and clearly distinguish locally produced journalism.


    Guild proposes two-year diversity fellowship; other proposals made by the Guild remain in limbo

    Friday, April 16, 2021 by The Guild

    4.16.21 – To assist with company efforts to diversify The Buffalo News, the Guild this week proposed a two-year diversity fellowship program for the newsroom aimed at developing journalists of color who have limited journalism experience.

    Meanwhile, the Guild continues to wait on responses from The News/Lee Enterprises on numerous other proposals, including those involving digital jurisdiction and the transparent labeling of online sponsored content and other news stories.

    The goal of the proposed diversity fellowship program would be to find and cultivate journalism talent and skills, creating a pipeline of well-qualified, potential hires to diversify the company’s newsroom ranks and improve community coverage. continue»

    Company rejects Guild proposals to label fake news content

    Friday, March 26, 2021 by The Guild

    3.26.21 — The Buffalo News/Lee Enterprises this week rejected two proposals from the Buffalo Newspaper Guild that would require the company to end its deceptive online practices. The proposals would require Lee to clearly label sponsored online content and to clearly identify stories that are written by local staff journalists.

    In both cases, the company said the Guild has no jurisdiction over the company’s online products and therefore has no input over ending practices that the Guild has argued are unethical, deceptive to readers, and harmful to The Buffalo News’ brand and credibility.

    “We were hopeful that News management would agree with us that ethics and integrity in journalism matters, but it doesn’t look that way,” said Guild president Sandy Tan. “Let’s just add this to the pile of reasons why digital jurisdiction is so important. If the company isn’t going to care about deceiving and insulting readers, then at least the Guild will.”  continue»

    Sports designer opening at The Buffalo News

    Monday, March 8, 2021 by The Guild

    3.8.21 — The Buffalo News is hiring a page designer in its sports department, which is a Guild-represented position. The full advertisement, with information on the opening and how to apply is below.


    At The Buffalo News, design matters. Given the competition for readers — print and digital — design is one of the best ways to make our news and information easy to use and one of the best ways to make our publications stand out.


    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.


    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.


    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.

    brita water filters

    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