UMG to hold Local Meeting and awards ceremony Feb. 7

Jan 20, 2019 by

umglogoThe United Media Guild will hold a Local Meeting and awards ceremony starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at Lombardo’s Restaurant at the Drury Inn Union Station.

The meeting is open to all members in good standing. Beverages will be provided (beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee) and a buffet will be served free of charge. Members can purchase cocktails on their own.

After tending to a small amount of Local business, the UMG will present its Guilder of the Year, Activist of the Year and Steward of the Year awards to individual members and its Solidarity Award to an entire unit.

The UMG also expects to honor the winner of its annual Terry Hughes Award for exemplary journalism.

Please RSVP the Guild office by leaving a message at 314-241-7046 or by e-mailing office manager Rachel Zaron at rzaron@unitedmediaguild.org.

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Nominations sought for Terry Hughes Award

Jan 6, 2019 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 issues 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, a magazine or an on-line publication is eligible.

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 2018.  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 January 16, 2019.  The panel of judges is comprised of previous award winners. The award will be presented by the United Media Guild at its annual dinner early February.

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Ho! Ho! Ho!

Dec 18, 2018 by

Companies that employ union and nonunion workers, work tirelessly to keep the two factions separated.  The last thing they want is everyone hanging out together and their nonunion workers begin to think about organizing (“Hey Boss, how come the union guys get…?”).  This is especially true if the employer has more than one workplace (like a media chain).  Those employers send not so subtle messages to nonunion workers that they have it BETTER than their union counterparts.  And to make that point, they will give them little gifts, gifts they will deny their union workers (“See, you non-organized guys are our favorite – that’s why we treat you better!”).

Union negotiators understand this and, to combat it, try to get “me too” clauses inserted into their collective bargaining agreements.  Such provisions mandate that if a company decides to give one segment of its employees a gift, it has to give the employees covered by the agreement that same gift (hence the term “me too”).  It goes without saying, then, that corporations hate such provisions and fight against including them in their union contracts.  To that point, The United Media Guild just negotiated a new three year agreement at KSDK-TV and, thanks to our hard working unit chair (shout out to Phil Evans!), I just received this notice:

 

 

 

December 17, 2018

Shannon Duffy

Administrative Officer

United Media Guild

TNG-CWA Local 36047

 

Re:       One-time discretionary bonus payment

 

Dear Shannon:

 

Today, TEGNA announced a 2018 one-time discretionary bonus payment of $500.00 for current regular full-time and part-time non-bargaining unit employees, who are not part of an existing annual bonus program (regular full-time and part-time employees newly hired in 2018 will receive a pro-rated 2018 on-time discretionary bonus payment).  This discretionary bonus will be paid to employees on December 21, 2018 and will be subject to applicable state and federal taxes, along with any 401(k) contributions.

 

Pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, we are providing this one-time bonus to the Guild bargaining unit members.

 

Please advise if you have any questions or if you wish to discuss.

 

*           *          *          *          *

 

(And I heard Phil exclaim ‘ere he rode out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all my union sisters and brothers here’s a nice check!”)

 

 

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Fight For 15 wins first contract!

Dec 15, 2018 by

Fast Food Organizers, represented by United Media Guild and employed by the National Fast Food Workers Union (an SEIU affiliate) ratified their first contract today.  The three year agreement includes a signing bonus, raises and a very generous benefits package, as well as all the usual staples of a good contract – grievance and arbitration language, progressive discipline, anti-discrimination language, even a stipend for those who use a second language in performance of their duties.

The agreement came after a year of bargaining and the fifty or so organizers working in seven different regions around the U.S. elected stewards and sent them to the bargaining table.  The last several months things slowed and saw bargaining occurring in the offices of a federal mediator in Washington, DC.

“Through it all, I was impressed at how united our bargaining team members were and how well they kept their their fellow workers engaged and informed,” said Guild representative, Shannon Duffy.  “This group of activists is changing the way Americans think about things like fairness and a living wage.  The United Media Guild is proud to be associated with such a committed group of activists and such a noble cause.”

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UMG to hold Local, then Post-Dispatch unit meeting Dec. 12

Nov 27, 2018 by

The United Media Guild will hold a Local Meeting, then a St. Louis Post-Dispatch unit meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12, at its offices in St. Louis 1015 Locust Street, Suite 735.

At the Local Meeting at 5:30 p.m., we will seek delegate nominations for the NewsGuild Sector Conference Jan. 25-27 in Orlando, Fla., and the CWA Convention July 29-31 in Las Vegas. Nominations can also be e-mailed to business representative Shannon Duffy at sduffy@unitedmediaguild.org.

The UMG can send up to four delegates to the sector conference. We expect to have two delegates to the CWA convention. To be eligible for the CWA Convention, a delegate must first attend the sector conference.

If we end up with more nominees than we have spots for, we will hold a Local-wide election by mail. The top two vote-getters will be delegates to both the Sector Conference and the CWA Convention.

At the P-D unit meeting, we will seek nominations for unit chair (currently Joe Holleman) and three at-large seats on our Executive Committee. Beth O’Malley and Denise Hollinshed currently hold at-large spots and one seat is vacant.

Nominations can also be e-mailed to Duffy at sduffy@unitedmediaguild.org.

If we have multiple nominees for unit chair or more nominees for at-large spots on the executive committee, we will hold an in-person vote at the unit meeting.

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Post-Dispatch members ratify new agreement

Nov 16, 2018 by

By a tally of 78-4, Post-Dispatch members ratified a new three-year agreement which will run through September 30, 2021.  The new agreement calls for 2% wage increases in the first and third years, free parking (which had suddenly become important when the paper sold the building) and increased seniority protections (fewer exemptions are now allowed in each department when layoffs occur).  There is also a proviso for our sales representatives to receive $100 if they are not given their period goals before the start of the actual period.  The agreement increased the percentage of premium share for Guild members from 30% to 35% and it also increased the probationary period for new hires from nine months to one year.

While the wage increases are not large, after this contract our members will have received a 10% increase over six years and in an industry obsessed with declining advertising revenues and reducing labor costs, the election results convey the confidence of Post-Dispatch members that their bargaining team secured the best possible deal.

Negotiations took place over a two week period in St. Louis.  They were preceded by conversations in the workplace, meetings with individuals in every area and the distribution of surveys which were collected and tallied.  Thanks go out to all those who gave up their time to take part in this effort.   Special shout out to Joe Holleman, Post-Dispatch unit chair for shepherding the many moving parts.

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UMG extends voting at the Post-Dispatch

Nov 15, 2018 by

Due to the Thursday’s snowpocalypse that disrupted the lives of so many of our members, the United Media Guild will extend voting on the company’s contract offer to a second day.

Voting will begin as originally scheduled at 5 p.m. Thursday in Room 205 at the Post-Dispatch. Members unable to cast their vote at that time can do so between 9 a.m. and noon on Friday.

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UMG reaches tentative agreement at Post-Dispatch

Nov 9, 2018 by

The United Media Guild’s expedited bargaining with the Post-Dispatch produced a three-year contract proposal. We will vote on this Thursday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m. in Room 205 at the Post-Dispatch.

Here are the basics of the proposal:

We Get

  • The company will provide free parking through the three-year contract.  Reserved parking would have cost our members $65 per month and open parking would have cost $55 per month.
  • The company can exempt no more than 15 percent of advertising department employees and 15 percent of editorial department employees from the seniority ranking for layoffs. This reduces the maximum number of “skips” from 16 to 10 in the newsroom and from 16 to 6 in advertising. Previously the company could use all of its skips in one area or the other, as it did in the newsroom earlier this year.
  • The pay scale for hourly employees and the base pay for salespersons will increase 2 percent in January, 2019 and 2 percent in January, 2021. (There is no increase in 2020).
  • Any advertising sales employee who doesn’t receive goals by the first day of a commission period will receive $100.
  • The rest of our protections remain as are, including vacation allotment, holidays, sick days, personal days, severance, IRS rate mileage, cell phone reimbursement, daily overtime, company cars for photographers and the assorted pay differentials (filling in for supervisors, working in a higher classification, reporters working editing shifts.)

Company Gets

  • The probationary period for employees extended from nine months to 12 months.
  • Employees can be regularly assigned to perform job duties in another classification for the duration of the contract. But the employee won’t change classifications unless a transfer is mutually agreed upon. Previously an employee could return to the original classification after 12 months.
  • Medical insurance premium rates will remain flat for 2019, but the employee share of the premium will increase from 30 percent to 35 percent. This creates the following increases per pay period:

Individual high-deductible: $11.43.
Individual traditional: $13.82
Individual plus children high-deductible: $21.70
Individual plus spouse high-deductible: $22.81
Individual plus children traditional: $24.97
Individual plus spouse traditional: $27.48
Family high-deductible: $34.30
Family traditional: $38.42

Bottom line

This contract prevents paid parking, reduces the company’s ability to circumvent seniority during layoffs and gives most of our members more money. This contract, combined with the previous contract, would result in five 2-percent raises in six years.

We believe this offer addressed our main concerns. Given the state of the industry – with its year-to-year revenue losses and accompanying layoffs – we believe this is a decent offer. The company would have offered a bit more financially had we agreed to more seniority exemptions.

If this upcoming vote fails

Then we move to traditional long-form bargaining. That could drag on for a year or more with the company trying to pick off some of our other protections while the Guild rallies support with internal and external mobilizing. Or the company could try to race toward the “last, best and final” contract offer and the threat of a bargaining impasse. At our ratification meeting we can discuss all the possible ramifications of that.

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