Retiree Luncheon to be held Nov. 1

Oct 8, 2018 by

The United Media Guild will hold its annual retiree luncheon at noon on Thursday, Nov. 1, at Lombardo’s Trattoria at 201 South 20th Street in downtown St. Louis. The restaurant is located inside the Drury Inn Union Station and it offers free parking in the garage behind the hotel.

The luncheon is free and open to all UMG retiree members. Please RSVP by email to UMG office manager Rachel Zaron at rzaron@unitedmediaguild.org. Or you can leave a message at 314-241-7046.

We look forward to seeing so many of those members who helped build this local union and keep it strong over the years.

 

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New Officers Announced

Oct 8, 2018 by

This past Thursday, at noon and 6 pm, a nomination meeting for Local Officers was held at the Guild Office, located at 1015 Locust St.  Members could show up and nominate someone for local office or, if they preferred, they could call in their nomination(s).

 

The following members were nominated:

For president – Jeff Gordon

For first vice president – David Carson

For second vice president – Joe Kenny

For recording secretary – Doug Moore

For treasurer – Letta Dansberry

 

There were no other nominations and, with no contested positions, there is no need for an election and those nominated will take office in January.

Treasurer John Muse had retired from his Post-Dispatch job mid-term and the Executive Committee will say a fond farewell to John at the end of this year.  John has served the Guild faithfully in a variety of positions over the years and we will miss his wise counsel and his passion for justice.  Taking John’s place as treasurer will be Letta Dansberry, a Post-Dispatch member from the sixth floor.  Like John, Letta has been an active member her entire time in our union.  In fact, this is not her first position on the EC; Letta previously served on the Guild Executive Committee in 2005.  Welcome back, Letta!

Nominations and election for all other EC positions will occur at soon-to-be-announced bargaining unit meetings (while Local Officers are elected by the full membership, Unit Chairs and delegates are elected by only those respective bargaining units).  All new unit positions will take effect in January as well.

All Local EC positions run for three years.

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KSDK-TV ratifies new three-year agreement

Oct 7, 2018 by

On September 28, at a noon bargaining unit meeting in conference room two at the KSDK Television Station, KSDK-TV Guild membership unanimously ratified a new three year agreement.  As previously reported, there are few changes in the agreement.  It includes a signing bonus and one additional holiday.

Our KSDK-TV bargaining unit is a small one and quite eclectic (we’re there because, once upon a time, Pulitzer owned them).  It is sometimes difficult to wrap one’s arms around the various areas we represent and I would like to commend KSDK-TV Unit Chair Phil Evans for his fine work at the bargaining table.

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Post-Dispatch unit meetings scheduled for Oct. 10

Oct 3, 2018 by

United Media Guild unit chair Joe Holleman and other local leaders will be available to meet with Post-Dispatch unit members twice on Oct. 10 to discuss contract bargaining.

The meetings will be held at noon and again after work at Missouri Bar and Grill on Tucker.

UMG leaders met with management of Lee Enterprises and the Post-Dispatch on Oct. 3 to discuss the potential for expedited bargaining to begin later this month. We shared our top negotiating priorities, as did the company.

Based those discussions we believe expedited bargaining is worth a try. This format keeps most of our protections in place and allows us to focus on a handful of issues.

Each side will only send a few negotiators to the table. But the UMG will form a larger bargaining committee to set goals, evaluate offers and generally guide the process. We are seeking volunteers from each work area to join this committee.

If the expedited process doesn’t yield an agreement that the larger membership ratifies, then the UMG will go to traditional long-form bargaining over the entire contract.

The most recent collective bargaining agreement at the Post-Dispatch expired at the end of September, but it remains in effect due to its evergreen clause. That keeps all of the protections in place while we continue to bargain.

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Nominations for UMG Local Officers

Sep 27, 2018 by

Thursday, October 4, United Media Guild, Local 36047 will have two local nomination meetings – at noon and 6:00 p.m. – in the Guild office (1015 Locust St, suite 735) for all Executive Committee officer positions.  The positions are three-year terms and will run from January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2022.  Unit chair positions are also expiring and those will be addressed at individual unit meetings conducted between now and the end of the year.

It is easy to place one’s name in nomination.  Simply show up and nominate someone.  If they’re not there to accept the nomination, have their signed acceptance with you.  Or, if you can’t make it over, simply call the office during the meeting (314-241-7046) and we’ll have someone do it for you (we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate; however, we’ll then also have to check with the nominee to confirm that he or she is interested in running).

Once nominations are closed, if there are more nominees than positions, the local will conduct an election by mailing ballots out prior to October 31 and ballots will be mailed back and counted in November.  Officers will be sworn in at our first meeting of the New Year.

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Ratification vote scheduled for Friday at KSDK-TV

Sep 25, 2018 by

 

Friday, September 28 at 12:00 noon, there will be a Guild unit meeting in the second floor conference room at the station to discuss – and then vote on – the tentative agreement reached last week between the United Media Guild bargaining team and the employer’s bargaining team of KSDK-TV station management and TEGNA.

 

This tentative agreement came about after several sessions, with the final session occurring with a federal mediator in the offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services.  The new agreement includes a signing bonus, an additional holiday and your bargaining team recommends that it be ratified.

 

WHAT:  Contract review and ratification vote

WHEN:  Friday, September 28 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

WHERE:  Second Floor Conference Room

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Lee Enterprises closes Missoula Independent after it unionizes

Sep 13, 2018 by

Journalists at the Missoula Independent organized with The NewsGuild hoping to save that alternative weekly.

But rather than negotiate a first contract with journalists at the Independent, Lee Enterprises decided to shut it down.

Last year Matt Gibson sold the Independent to Lee, which owns the daily Missoulian newspaper in that community as well as several other Montana newspapers. At the time, Gibson said he hoped the arrangement would allow the Independent to gain the efficiencies needed to continue on.

But did Lee buy the newspaper with the long-term plan of shutting it down to eliminate competition?

“It certainly seems like the direction things were headed almost from the time Lee Enterprises purchased the Indy, and certainly once the Indy staff unionized,” Lee Banvill, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Montana, told the Missoulian.

Did unionization doom the newspaper?

“It might have changed the timing,” Banvill told the Missoulian. “It took the debate about the future of the alt-weekly public and it also clearly rankled Lee Enterprises to have to deal with a union. It may have sped things up.”

The United Media Guild has developed a good working relationship with Lee Enterprises in recent years. We have worked with the company to maintain strong journalism at the Post-Dispatch in the face of declining industry revenues.

But we find its shutdown of the Independent most disconcerting. More newsrooms will be organizing in the months ahead. Journalists are coming together seeking to preserve their craft and fight for the survival of their newspapers.

Lee Enterprises, GateHouse, Tronc, Gannett and Digital First must realize the Guild is not going away regardless of what tactics the company uses to discourage unionization.

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GateHouse guts Peoria Journal Star newsroom

Sep 13, 2018 by

GateHouse Media announced the layoffs of five Peoria Journal Star journalists represented by the United Media Guild last week, adding to its massive reduction of that newsroom workforce.

The casualties included reporters Chris Kaergard, Thomas Bruch and Aaron Ferguson as well as copy editor Shannon Countryman. Copy editor and page designer Wes Huett, will be laid off on September 21.

Veteran reporter Pam Adams left previously and the Journal Star also lost sports editor Kirk Wessler, editorial page editor Mike Bailey and assistant city editor Brad Erickson.

These cuts mirror the relentless cost-cutting that has diminished other GateHouse newspapers, including the Rockford Register Star, State Journal-Register and Pekin Daily News.

This all is part of the GateHouse Media business plan, as devised by Wes Edens and Co. at Fortress Investment Group. GateHouse slashes costs to maximize cash flow — which its parent company, New Media Investment Group, uses to pay big dividends, fund new acquisitions and pay hefty external management fees to Fortress.

These cuts accelerate the decline in circulation and advertising, which leads to more cuts . . . which maintains the cash flow to pay dividends, fund new acquisitions and pay hefty management fees to Fortress Investment Group. Wash, rinse, repeat.

At this rate once-vibrant newspapers in the GateHouse chain won’t be viable within a few years. Community after community will lose essential news-gathering operations and our society will suffer greatly as a result.

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