Annual Dinner is a night of fun – and rememberance.

Jan 30, 2012 by

The United Media Guild held its annual dinner meeting Friday, January 27, 2012.  Approximately 150 were on hand and, following dinner and prior to conducting business, a moment of silence was held for Robert Douglas, a Post-Dispatch retiree who died last month, one year after his medical coverage was taken away by Lee Enterprises (http://bit.ly/xJLIOR).  Several members spoke about Robert and his daughter was on hand to speak about him as well.  After that, activism and journalism awards were presented.

 

Steward of the Year went to Lauren Marshall for “keeping your unit solidified during a protracted and difficult bargaining process.”  Marshall’s unit is the local AFL-CIO publication, the St. Louis Labor Tribune and, following a unanimous vote to strike the employer, negotiations went right down to the wire.

 

The Solidarity Award went to the bargaining team at KSDK-TV for their “unparalleled selflessness during challenging negotiations.”  Unit Chair Mike Daugherty, Phil Evans and Danny Spina comprised the bargaining team (along with local minister, Rev Rudy Pullido) and, while their (higher paid) classifications were unable to secure a wage increase from the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate for the one-year agreement, they did win a 10% increase for their (lower-paid) Production Assistant brothers and sisters.

 

Sari Gelzer, unit chair at Truthout, flew in from San Francisco to receive her Activist of the Year award.  Gelzer, a recent TNG Organizing Institute graduate, received the award for the role she played in helping the Pacific Media Workers Guild organize The Bay Citizen, another online newsite.

 

Guilder of the Year went to Dave Haney of the Peoria Journal Star (the Peoria local merged with St. Louis in 2011, creating the United Media Guild) for “stepping into the leadership position of a divided membership and bringing people together.  And for carrying that unity forward and helping cement the merger of the United Media Guild.”  After thanking everyone for the honor, Haney brought everyone up to date on the fight between the Peoria Journal Star members and that paper’s corporate owner, Gatehouse.  Currently, Gatehouse has an offer on the table that would outsource two-thirds of that unit’s jobs (circulation, copy desk and pagination).

 

In the field of journalism, the annual Terry Hughes Award was given out.  Terry Hughes was a Post-Dispatch columnist who was 36 when she died of breast cancer on July 22, 1991.  A columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, her writing was clear, witty and descriptive, with a flair for portraying society’s underdogs.  Some of her columns chronicled the bouts with cancer that she and others faced.  One column was credited with helping persuade the Missouri Legislature to approve a bill forcing insurers to pay for mammograms.  The 2011 Terry Hughes Award winner was John H. Tucker of the Riverfront Times, a non-union alternative weekly in St. Louis.  This was the 20th year of the award and Tucker was presented his plaque by Doug Moore, a P-D reporter and last year’s winner.

 

The final award was the John MCGuire Award, named after a longtime and beloved P-D reporter.  This is the second year for the award and it is given to someone “whose life’s work embodies the commitment, passion and care John brought to the craft of journalism.”  That honor went to former Guild president, Joe Pollack.  Pollack, who worked at both the St. Louis Globe Democrat and Post-Dispatch, enjoyed a storied career as a reporter, sportswriter and critic who, although now retired, still maintains a well-known blog (http://stlouiseats.typepad.com/). Pollack was given his award by last year’s inaugural honoree, Bill McClellan.

 

International President Bernie Lunzer and Secretary-Treasurer Carol Rothman were also on hand for the event.  Lunzer congratulated the winners and spoke about the current state of affairs in our industry and the importance of organizing as journalism evolves.

 

Two fifty-fifty raffles were held with proceeds from one going to the “Five for the Fight” fund, an account managed the AFL-CIO United Way reps to help those in the labor movement who are laid off and having trouble paying their bills.  Proceeds from the other raffle went to Robert Douglas’ family.

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A night to honor and remember

Jan 30, 2012 by

The United Media Guild (formerly St. Louis Newspaper Guild) held its annual dinner meeting Friday, January 27, 2012.  Approximately 150 were on hand and, prior to conducting business, a moment of silence was held for Robert Douglas, a retiree who died one year after having his medical coverage taken away by Lee Enterprises (http://bit.ly/xJLIOR).  Following the business portion of the meeting, activism and journalism awards were presented.

Steward of the Year went to Lauren Marshall for “keeping your unit solidified during a protracted and difficult bargaining process.”  Marshall’s unit is the local AFL-CIO publication, the St. Louis Labor Tribune, and, following a unanimous vote to strike the employer, negotiations went right down to the wire.

The Solidarity Award went to the bargaining team at KSDK-TV for their “unparalleled selflessness during challenging negotiations.”  Unit Chair Mike Daugherty, Phil Evans and Danny Spina comprised the bargaining team (along with local minister, Rev Rudy Pullido) and, while their (higher paid) classifications were unable to secure a wage increase from the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate for the one-year agreement, they did win a 10% increase for their (lower-paid) Production Assistant brothers and sisters.

Sari Gelzer, unit chair at Truthout, flew in from San Francisco to receive her Activist of the Year award.  Gelzer, a recent TNG Organizing Institute graduate, received the award for the role she played in helping the Pacific Media Workers Guild organize The Bay Citizen, another online newsite.

Guilder of the Year went to Dave Haney of the Peoria Journal Star (the Peoria local merged with St. Louis in 2011, creating the United Media Guild) for “Stepping into the leadership position of a divided membership and bringing people together.  And for carrying that unity forward and helping cement the merger of the United Media Guild.”  After thanking everyone for the honor, Haney brought everyone up to date on the fight between the Peoria Journal Star members and that paper’s corporate owner, Gatehouse.  Currently, Gatehouse has an offer on the table that would outsource two-thirds of that unit’s jobs (circulation, copy desk and pagination).

In the field of journalism, the annual Terry Hughes Award was given out.  Terry Hughes was a Post-Dispatch columnist who was 36 when she died of breast cancer on July 22, 1991.  A columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, her writing was clear, witty and descriptive, with a flair for portraying society’s underdogs.  Some of her columns chronicled the bouts with cancer that she and others faced.  One column was credited with helping persuade the Missouri Legislature to approve a bill forcing insurers to pay for mammograms.  The 2011 Terry Hughes Award winner was John H. Tucker of the Riverfront Times, a non-union alternative weekly in St. Louis.  This was the 20th year of the award and Tucker was presented his plaque by Doug Moore, a P-D reporter and last year’s winner.

The final award was the John MCGuire Award, named after a longtime and beloved P-D reporter.  This is the second year for the award and it is given to someone “whose life’s work embodies the commitment, passion and care John brought to the craft of journalism.”  That honor went to former (and longtime) local Guild president, Joe Pollack.  Pollack, who worked at both the St. Louis Globe Democrat and Post-Dispatch, enjoyed a long career as a reporter, sportswriter and critic who, although now retired, still maintains a well-known blog (http://stlouiseats.typepad.com/). Pollack was given his award by last year’s inaugural honoree, Bill McClellan.

International President Bernie Lunzer and Secretary-Treasurer Carol Rothman were also on hand for the event.  Lunzer congratulated the winners and spoke about the current state of affairs in our industry and the importance of organizing as journalism evolves.

Two fifty-fifty raffles were held with proceeds going to the “Five for the Fight” fund, an account managed the AFL-CIO United Way reps to help those in the labor movement who are laid off and having trouble paying their bills.  The other raffle went to Robert Douglas’ family.

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Gatehouse looking to outsource at two Guild papers

Jan 17, 2012 by

The two papers are the Canton (Ohio) Repository (Northeast Ohio TNG Local 1) and the Peoria Journal Star, which is part of our local, the United Media Guild, Local 36047.  The following is a bargaining bulletin issued minutes ago by Local 1 in Ohio and it contains specifics from both bargaining sessions.

 

 

Guild Bargaining Bulletin
January 17, 2012
The Guild and the Employer held their eighth bargaining session today (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012).  Let’s just cut to the highlights.
The Employer “modified” its outsourcing proposal by singling out the job titles it wants the ability to get rid of:
• Graphic Designers
• Single Copy Persons
• District Delivery Persons
• Collectors
• Down Routers and Bundle Counters
• Advertising Pagination
• Advertising Artist
• Mechanic
• Traffic Department (drivers)
• Dispatcher
• Maintenance
• Mechanic Assistant
The Employer said this was a less severe proposal than its initial proposal made Aug. 9, 2011, in which it wanted the ability to outsource ANY job at its discretion.  The job titles listed above would amount to almost one-fourth of the Guild bargaining unit members The Guild
believes it is in the best interests of the employees as well as the newspaper for bargaining unit employees to perform the work required to produce The Repository. The Employer’s proposal today indicates it is serious about getting ride of our jobs.
Meanwhile, at the GateHouse paper in Peoria, Ill., The Employer has announced it plans to outsource 36 Guild circulation jobs by June 1. The Employer also said it plans to outsource Guild copy desk and page designer jobs. The Guild contract in Peoria, which currently covers 72 employees, does not have the same job protection language as our contract – and that language is what the Employer wants to change.
Guild Bargaining Committee
REMINDER: A Guild unit meeting to update members on bargaining is 6 p.m. Thursday at the YWCA

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Guild endorses two ballot initiatives

Jan 14, 2012 by

Thursday evening, January 12, the Executive Committee of the United Media Guild unanimously endorsed two ballot initiatives currently in the petition stage as they work their way towards the November ballot.

 

The first ballot initiative is being promoted by Missourians for Responsible Lending and its efforts to cap interest rates in Missouri at 36%.  Right now, payday lenders in this state are charging an average interest rate of 444% and can legally charge as much as 1900%!!

 

This is loansharking and to pretend otherwise is reprehensible.  It may also interest you to know that we currently have more payday lenders in Missouri than Starbucks, Walmart’s and McDonald’s COMBINED!

 

To learn more about payday lending, visit:  http://www.moresponsiblelending.org/

 

The second ballot initiative calls for raising the MO state minimum wage by one dollar.  Almost half a million Missouri families would get a raise through this initiative – pumping many millions into our state’s economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago estimates that for every $1 raise for a minimum wage worker, there is $3,500 in new spending in the next year. Most of our minimum wage workers are employed by major profitable corporations like McDonalds, Walmart and Sodexho that already pay these wages in other states.

 

To learn more about this issue, visit:  givemoaraise.org

 

 

 

 

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Open letter to Romenesko

Jan 13, 2012 by

Copy of the text from a letter emailed to Jim Romenesko.

Thursday Jan. 12, 2012

Dear Mr. Romenesko,

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan wrote a great column on Jan. 8, 2012, about Post-Dispatch retiree Robert Douglas, who passed away sometime between Dec. 14 and 16.

http://bit.ly/xJLIOR

Robert had health issues, but he was screwed over by the Post-Dispatch when they cut off his contractually promised health insurance.  The story outlines the situation better than we can. The story created a buzz in the newsroom and is gaining some traction in the community.

The United Media Guild feels that the Post-Dispatch’s actions contributed to Robert’s death and that it and the paper’s owner, Lee Enterprises, should be ashamed.  The Guild is calling on the Post-Dispatch to reinstate the health care it promised to its retirees before another tragedy happens.

Sincerely,

The United Media Guild Executive Board

TNG-CWA 36047

unitedmediaguild.com

 

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