Springfield, Rockford units ratify first contracts with GateHouse

Oct 20, 2018 by

Our members at the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill, and the Rockford Register Star unanimously ratified first contracts with GateHouse Media in separate votes this week.

The Springfield unit voted to join the Guild in 2012 and Rockford followed in 2013. Their years-long battle for a fair contract finally took a positive turn in 2017 when the United Media Guild presented a good-governance shareholder proposal to GateHouse Media’s parent company, New Media Investment Group.

That allowed the UMG to approach top investors in New Media Investment Group and detail our concerns about GateHouse’s asset-stripping management. Our proposal passed overwhelmingly and shareholders issued a vote of no-confidence to the New Media board.

That effort, combined with The NewsGuild’s planned corporate campaign against GateHouse — funded by a six-figure CWA Strategic Industry Fund grant — encouraged the company to embark on unprecedented global economic bargaining for all Guild-represented newspapers.

That resulted in an agreement featuring raises of 1 percent in 2018 and 1.75 percent in 2019. That ended a decade-long wage freeze at many GateHouse papers, including the UMG-represented Peoria Journal Star and Pekin Daily Times.

In addition to those raises, the company froze health care premiums for both years and plan designs were frozen for ’18.

Bargaining continued for full collective bargaining agreements and resulted contracts that included a $500 signing bonus, seven additional days off for 2019 and the ability to reopen negotiations to address pay and health care premiums for 2020.

The UMG thanks Springfield unit chair Dean Olsen for his diligence throughout this challenging process. And we thank former Rockford unit chairs Melissa Westphal and Max Gersh along with current unit chair Kristen Zambo for never giving up on this contract quest.

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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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