Nominations for 21st Annual Terry Hughes Award

Dec 6, 2012 by

Terry Hughes 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.

 

One of the many readers who wrote to the newspaper after her death described her work this way: “Her columns were full of real life stories that touched us all and even changed our way of thinking or even our lives.”

 

The United Media Guild has established a writing award in the name of Ms. Hughes.  The award is intended to honor a journalist whose writing shows the talent that she displayed.

 

Any journalist in the metropolitan St. Louis area who has written for a daily or weekly newspaper or for a magazine is eligible.  Online publications are eligible as well.

 

Single articles of extraordinary merit will be considered.  Preference will be given to entries of between three and ten articles that display the writer’s range of talent.

 

Articles must have been published in 2012.  There are no formal applications.  Anyone may submit a nomination by sending copies of articles to:

 

The Terry Hughes Award Committee

United Media Guild

1015 Locust St.

Suite 735

St. Louis, Mo.  63101

 

The deadline for applications is Monday, January 7, 2013.  The award will be presented at the United Media Guild’s Annual Dinner in late January.

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UMG Members Choose Executive Committee

Nov 16, 2012 by

 

Through its recent nomination process, which saw no offices contested, the United Media Guild’s Executive Committee in 2013 will consist of the following:

  • President: Jeff Gordon.
  • First VP: David Carson.
  • Second VP: Joe Kenny.
  • Treasurer: Tim Logan.
  • Secretary: Doug Moore.
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch unit chair: Joe Holleman.
  • Pekin DailyTimes unit chair: Sharon Harris.
  • Post-Dispatch delegate: John Mues.

 

The new Executive Committee will be sworn in at our Annual Dinner in late January.  Our new Springfield State Journal-Register unit will select its chairman and other officers during its initial meeting Saturday.   Jobs with justice, KSDK-TV, The Labor Tribune, St. Louis Review, Peoria Journal Star, Truthout, and Workers Interfaith Network still must hold unit meetings to select their unit officers.

 

So congratulations to our incoming newbies – as well as our returning EC members – and a big vote of thanks for those who are departing:  Deni Fleming, Jim Gallagher, Barry Gilbert and Laurie Waterhouse.  Your dedication and unwavering commitment to justice on the job often meant spending late nights in the Guild office.  Whether it was an arbitration case, a contract fight or one of our seemingly endless legal battles, you stood like a rock against an onslaught of corporate attacks and, because you were so strong, this local will endure.  Thank you.

 

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Alfredo Pena to take helm at WIN

Nov 6, 2012 by

Our Workers Interfaith Network unit in Memphis is entering a new era. Founding executive director Rebekah Gienapp stepped aside after ten years and promoted the Guild’s WIN unit chair Alfredo Pena to interim director.

“The experience of motherhood has changed my life, and I’ve decided that what’s best for my family is to stay at home full-time with our son,” Gienapp wrote on her WIN blog.

The Guild hates to lose one of our leaders, but we look forward to supporting his WIN initiatives during the months ahead.  Shannon Duffy and Jeff Gordon met with Pena Saturday night and discussed his vision for the Network.

Here is what Pena wrote on the WIN blog:

“Even though we are losing our first director, we still have so much good work to do. We will continue to unite with workers seeking justice, and I ask you to continue supporting our work here at WIN. Remember, you are the reason we have been able to achieve so many victories with workers who face unfair wages and unjust working conditions.”

 

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State Journal-Register “overwhelmingly” votes Guild

Oct 13, 2012 by

By a vote of 26 to 4, newsroom employees at the Springfield, IL State Journal-Register sent a strong message to their management while forging a new direction for their newspaper.  Six weeks previously, the United Media Guild submitted signed authorization cards to the National Labor Relations Board which triggered a representation election at the GateHouse-owned property.  In the time leading up to the election, SJ-R employees stood firm as the paper mailed letters to their homes which were designed to dissuade them from voting for a union and then called them, in small groups, into the publisher’s office for captive audience meetings where unions, again, were the subject of the day.  However, management’s tactics fell far short of their target, as evidenced by today’s election result .

“I’m terribly proud of my coworkers,” said Dean Olsen, the longtime healthcare reporter, who helped lead the organizing effort.  “We wanted a formal voice in determining the future of journalism in Springfield and our group overwhelmingly supported that effort.  This is a great day.”

Afterwards, as the workers gathered at a nearby watering hole for celebratory beverages, many were laughing and talking excitedly about what comes next.  Olsen, watching it, stood off to the side with a grin, “I haven’t seen these guys smile like this in a long time,” he said.

 

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A call for leadership

Oct 12, 2012 by

Long-time United Media Guild activist Barry Gilbert recently made this plea to his former Post-Dispatch colleagues via our UMG Facebook group:

“I woke up this morning worrying about the Guild. Our ranks have been decimated, and of course so has our leadership. Contract negotiations are not that far off; closer still — like next month, IIRC — will be a fight over revenue sharing. Lee will cry poverty (and still give bonuses and raises to execs). Our job — YOUR job — will be to demand and obtain proof of Lee’s ability or inability to pay. I know morale is in the toilet; I know everybody is beaten down. But just imagine what working at the P-D under Lee would be without the Guild. Just ask around Lee’s properties to find out. We need new leadership. Members whose journalism skills make them newsroom leaders need to step up, run for Executive Board, become stewards and get involved. If you haven’t been active, get active; if you’ve contributed in the past, contribute more.”

Well stated Barry. We would love to gain new activists from all of our units. We face huge challenges as Lee, GateHouse, Gannett and our other employers struggle in this difficult economy.

Guild membership gives you an opportunity to fight for the craft of journalism and the quality of your jobs. Employees in non-union workplaces do not have that opportunity.

Collective action can make a positive difference even in these highly negative times. The UMG can cite countless examples during the past few years.

Your voice can be heard at the very top of these corporations. During the weeks ahead, we will have more information about UMG elections and other opportunities to become more active.

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Facts about retiree settlement checks

Oct 11, 2012 by

 

Please note that your settlement check envelope, which should be arriving any minute, looks EXACTLY like your pension check stub envelope.  DON’T THROW IT AWAY – there’s a check inside!

 

Also, contrary to what we had been told, Lee did NOT mail out two separate checks; taxable and nontaxable amounts were combined in one check.  There is, however, a breakdown on the stub that denotes the amount that was taxed and non-taxed.

 

Finally, as discussed at the retiree meetings, the portion of your settlement that is NOT reimbursement for medical expenses, is treated as payroll earnings for tax withholding purposes.   The company is legally obligated to withhold these taxes from any portion that is not a reimbursement.

 

We hope this information is helpful.

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