Post-Dispatch lays off UMG members

Jun 26, 2015 by

The Post-Dispatch laid off nine members of the United Media Guild, including seven full-time employees and two temporary employees. The impacted employees include four reporters, one editor, two editors working on a temporary basis, a work station operator and a carpenter.

Under the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, other UMG members may volunteer to accept the layoff in their place.

Employees hired before Dec. 1, 1994 get one week of severance pay for every six months of continuous employment, up to 66 weeks.

Employees hired after Dec. 1, 1994 get one week of severance pay for every one year of continuous employment, up to 26 weeks.

UMG members interested in volunteering to resign to collect the severance should contact human resources.

According to our contract, “within a period of two weeks from the date of such notice any employee in a classification within the affected department may resign voluntarily and take dismissal pay under the provisions of Article XV of this Agreement, provided the total of such resignations shall not exceed the number of jobs affected in a given classification within that department.”

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UMG to begin expedited bargaining with Post-Dispatch

Jun 24, 2015 by

Soon the United Media Guild will start expedited bargaining with Post-Dispatch management for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Our current CBA expires Sept. 27. Rather than engage in comprehensive bargaining over dozens of topics, the UMG and the company will focus on a handful of critical issues to see if we can strike a deal.

We hope to start bargaining sometime in July and conclude the negotiations within weeks.

After reviewing dozens of negotiation questionnaires filled out by our members, the UMG has set two priorities for this contract:

1) Restore lost wages. Our members in most classifications suffered 6 percent wage cuts in the previous contract and also endured unpaid furloughs. Meanwhile the cost of living increased, as did the out-of-pocket expenses for those using the Lee Enterprises medical plan.

2) Protect our salespeople from drastic earnings losses caused by company actions. Those would include altering sales plans, client lists and territory assignments.

Additional negotiating priorities will be discussed by members of the bargaining oversight committee, which features a broad cross-section of UMG members. This oversight committee will monitor and advise the bargaining team led by business representatives Shannon Duffy and Mary Casey and Post-Dispatch unit chair Joe Holleman.

The oversight committee will meet for the first time Tuesday, June 30 at 6:15 p.m. at the UMG office at 1015 Locust, Suite 735. Then will meet with the bargaining team periodically to discuss negotiating developments and strategies.

We hope to bring a proposal to a full membership vote by the end of the summer. Should expedited bargaining fail to produce a contract our members approve, we will shift to more traditional negotiations that could extend well past the expiration of our current contract.

In that case our members would continue working under terms of the old contract, thanks to the evergreen clause that keeps our protections in place while we negotiate.

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Local meeting planned for July 11 in Peoria

Jun 14, 2015 by

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The United Media Guild will hold its next Local Meeting at 1 p.m. July 11 at Kelleher’s Pub & Eatery in Peoria.
This restaurant, the site of our last Local meeting in Peoria, is on the riverfront at 619 SW Water St., Peoria, Ill., 61602. This meeting is open to all UMG members in good standing. Lunch will be provided.
This is an opportunity for our Illinois-based members at GateHouse newspapers gather and joint actions as we attempt to secure first contracts at Springfield and Rockford.

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UMG journalists shine in Illinois

Jun 14, 2015 by

Even in the midst of difficult contract negotiations at GateHouse Media newspapers, United Media Guild leaders have remained dedicated to practicing outstanding journalism.

Their outstanding performance earned awards from the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors.

Rockford Register Star unit chair Max Gersh won first-place awards from the Illinois APME for general news photography and feature photography. His news photo of an anxious kindergartner on the first day of school also won the APME photo sweepstakes.

State Journal-Register vice chair Jason Nevel got first place from the IPA for best school board coverage.

Long-time Pekin Daily Times unit chair Sharon Woods Harris won first-place IPA honors for best coverage of taxation.

Gersh’s performance was especially impressive given his difficult working circumstances in Rockford. The UMG filed unfair labor practice charges against Register Star management for its actions against photographers in general and Gersh in particular.

Many other UMG members won awards from the IPA and Illinois APME. Here were just some of the highlights:

The IPA gave first-place honors to Register Star reporter Corina Curry and photographer Brent Lewis (now a Guild member at the Denver Post) in the news reporting series category for “Kylie’s Hand,” the story of a group of Boylan High School students who created an artificial hand for an area girl.

The Illinois APME gave first-place honors to Register Star reporters Chris Green and Georgette Braun for their heroin series that was “well-planned, compellingly written and reported, and beautifully presented . . . in print and online.”

The APME gave first-place honors to Peoria Journal Star reporter Leslie Renken for entertainment writing. Her winning story spotlighted a pageant for girls with special needs.

Journal Star photographer Ron Johnson earned first-place APME and IPA honors in the sports feature photo category.

Journal Star columnist Phil Luciano, UMG’s unit chair in Peoria, earned first-place IPA honors.

Chris Grimm won first place from IPA illustration honors for a depiction of Jimi Hendricks in the Journal Star. The Cue entertainment section, designed by Grimm and Thomas Bruch, earned top honors for lifestyles section.

State Journal-Register sportswriter Dave Kane received a first-place award from the Illinois APME for sports feature writing.

UMG members also won dozens of second-place, third-place and honorable mention citations from the IPA and Illinois APME.

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TNG honors Shannon Duffy with movement builder award

Jun 8, 2015 by

Duffy1United Media Guild business representative Shannon Duffy has remained on the forefront of movement building during his long career in organized labor.

His tenure at UMG has featured closer interaction with activists at Missouri Jobs with Justice, Mid-South Organizing Committee and Workers Interfaith Network. Duffy has volunteered untold hours helping many other progressive groups in their fight for economic and social equality.

So it was only fitting that The News Guild honored Duffy with its first Larry Cohen Movement Builder award at the national Communications Workers of America convention in Detroit.

This prestigious national award is named after retiring CWA president Larry Cohen, who has championed coalition building between organized labor, faith groups and various social activism groups.

Cohen was on hand for the presentation from TNG-CWA president Bernie Lunzer, who originally brought Duffy into the Guild as in support of workers fighting for a contract at the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Duffy’s ability to build public support for those newspaper employees brought him to the attention of UMG, then known as the St. Louis Newspaper Guild. Since his hiring as business representative we have broadened our membership and support bases in this region.

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