Come out on Labor Day and march with our CWA sisters and brothers!

Aug 29, 2018 by

This year CWA is THIRD in line because it’s our 80th anniversary of marching in this parade!

So it’s safe to say that we’ll be heading out at 9:00 a.m. sharp!  But you’ll need to show up earlier than that if you want to grab one of the awesome free T-shirts that we’ll be handing out!

We’ll be lining up at 14th Street and Tucker. . . See you there!

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UMG members, top CWA officers joined Missouri’s fight against “Right to Work”

Aug 9, 2018 by

Members of the United Media Guild were on the front lines of the fight against “Right to Work” in Missouri.

Some of our retiree members helped gather signatures the more than 310,000 signatures that forced the issue to a state-wide ballot.

CWA president Chris Shelton.

Our Labor Tribune unit played a key role in the anti-RTW messaging. Members of our Missouri Jobs with Justice unit got out into our communities explaining why RTW would be bad for the state’s workers.

And top officers in  the Communications Workers of America — the parent union of The NewsGuild and UMG — joined the phone bank effort from their office in Washington D.C.

CWA president Chris Shelton and CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens were among those reaching out to voters.

Ultimately “Right to Work” lost in Missouri by a resounding 2-to-1 margin. Voters rejected this attempt to weaken the labor movement by allowing workers to benefit from union representation without paying dues.

Such legislation erodes worker solidarity and diminishes the resources unions need to gain and enforce contracts.

“This has never been about workers receiving an extra 25 cents an hour or a 401k match,” UMG business representative Shannon Duffy wrote in an essay published on the Labor Notes website. “That’s small potatoes to them, an annoyance. This is the result of planning on a grand scale. It has to do with keeping workers disorganized and, if possible, at each other’s throats—because a disorganized workplace, where workers feel powerless, prevents our ability to act collectively in the broader struggle for social and economic justice.”

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UMG honors Bill McClellan, top activists

Feb 7, 2018 by

Bill McClellan and previous Hughes winner Joel Currier.

Guilder of the Year Joe Holleman addresses his fellow UMG members.

Stanley Jackson accepted the Solidarity Award on behalf of our Fight for 15 unit.

Steward of the year David Blackford.

The United Media Guild honored its top activists and celebrated great journalism at its Local Meeting Feb. 6.

Longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan won the UMG’s Terry Hughes Award, which is judged each year by a panel of former winners of the award.

Ms. Hughes, a columnist for the Post-Dispatch, was 36 when she died of breast cancer on July 22, 1991. Her writing was clear, witty and descriptive, with a flair for portraying society’s underdogs. The same could be said for McClellan’s work.

He sat near Hughes in the Post-Dispatch newspapers and was a great admirer of her work. If she were still alive, McClellan said, “she would have served as a mentor for our young journalists, especially the women.”

McClellan received his award from last year’s winner, Post-Dispatch reporter Joel Currier.

Columnist Joe Holleman, chair of our Post-Dispatch unit, was honored as Guilder of the Year. He has long been a strong advocate for all of our members at the Post, not just those in the newsroom.

David Blackford of the Pekin Daily Times was named Steward of the Year. There have been no shortage of issues to address at that newspaper — it is owned by GateHouse Media, after all — and he has helped us resolve many problems. Blackford noted that as a former UAW member in the auto industry, he learned the value of unionism and the need to step up for co-workers.

Rockford Register Star reporter Kristen Zambo was named Activist of the Year. Like Blackford, she works for GateHouse. Like Pekin, Rockford has had no shortage of problems to address while continuing its fight for a fair first contract. Zambo stepped as acting unit chair after the previous chair, photographer Max Gersh, moved on to a new job in Florida.

Our members of the “Fight for 15” campaign were honored with the Solidarity Award. That is a new UMG unit with members spanning the contiguous United States. The unit’s St. Louis-area steward, Stanley Jackson, took a bow for the group.

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UMG works to distinguish real news from marketing content

Jan 16, 2018 by

Protecting the craft of journalism is one of the United Media Guild’s most important tasks.

We have fought hard to prevent journalists from being assigned to write advertorial copy, particularly for the GateHouse Newspapers chain. A journalist’s job is to report real news and writing advertorial copy would undermine that work.

Recently at the Post-Dispatch the UMG has worked with management to make sure that the real news reported by journalists is clearly delineated from marketing content.

(Sponsored content also appears side-by-side with real news on the STLToday.com site, but it is clearly marked. We would prefer that sponsored content did not exist, but it IS a source of digital revenue).

The “Advancing STL” section on the STLToday.com home page is identified as  “Marketing” and its stories feature the tagline “Produced by our marketing department” over the top of the copy.

We want to thank Post-Dispatch unit chair Joe Holleman for working with management to make certain that the lines between real news and marketing content are not blurred.

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UMG retirees and alumni gather for their annual luncheon

Dec 5, 2017 by

The United Media Guild hosted about 40 retiree members at its annual Retiree/Alumni Luncheon Nov. 28 at Lombardo’s in St. Louis.

It was great to see former UMG business representative Mary Casey and former UMG office at the event, along with many of our former officers — including Tim O’Neil, Denise Fleming, Virginia Hicks Gilbert, Kevin Madden, Theresa Cobb and Ed Cirar.

Semi-retired Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan attended and reminisced with former newsroom colleagues such as Michael Sorkin, Roy Malone, Bill Smith, Barry Gilbert, Alan Fredman and Geoffrey Dubson

Retiree/alumni membership is open to all former UMG members. Contact office Rachel Zaron (rzaron@unitedmediaguild.org) if you are interested.

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In warning about crossing lines, Robberson does just that.

Oct 27, 2017 by

 

Our union has no problem with a newspaper columnist expressing an opinion, for that is the purpose of an editorial section. But Tod Robberson’s decision to run a recent column criticizing colleagues for their use of social media brings up several other matters — ones he either failed to consider or ones he willfully ignored:

First, is this how we now resolve potential policy issues that arise between management and workers, by running columns in the newspaper?

Since Mr. Robberson did not see fit to contact the union which represents workers he criticized, then please allow our union similar space to rebut the assertions he made, without any real evidence, that some of our behavior violated established Post-Dispatch policies.

Or should we assume that from now on, the effective, decades-old method of labor and management sitting down at a table to iron out differences has given way to management, by Robberson fiat, that alleges wrongdoing and policy violations and then flies directly into the face of the objectivity he purports to cherish by not allowing the people we represent to respond in their own defense?

Also, our union has faithfully instructed its members that while we may at times have problems with management policies and practices, we should never resort to “denigrating the product.” But how are we supposed to adhere to that policy, or why should we, when it’s clear that Mr. Robberson sees it altogether fitting to denigrate the journalists who cover, report, write, photograph and edit that product?

Mr. Robberson, by his use of the phrase “reporters and photographers” omits the non-union employees using social media and singles out Guild members in his screed.  We find this troubling and wonder just how deliberate his choice of words are.

Mr. Robberson has warned us about crossing lines by crossing lines himself, and applies a double standard in delivering his sermon about journalistic standards.

In his column, Mr. Robberson declares that he is from the “country of Journalism.” We hope that sometime in the near future, he also opts to reside in the “state of Fairness.”

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