Nominations sought for Terry Hughes Award

Dec 6, 2017 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

Joel Currier, past Terry Hughes Award winner

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, 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 2017.  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 Friday, January 5, 2018.  The panel of judges is comprised of previous award winners. The award will be presented by the United Media Guild at its quarterly Local Meeting in late January or early February.

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Los Angeles Times journalists seek to unionize with The NewsGuild-CWA

Dec 6, 2017 by

The NewsGuild-CWA is fighting to preserve the craft of journalism and improve working conditions for journalists across North America.

Journalists at news organizations large and small have come to TNG-CWA seeking to unionize. Recently the Los Angeles Times newsroom filed for an representation election for the union with the National Labor Relations Board.

The organizing drive was a collaborative effort between TNG-CWA, CWA District 9 and various local TNG-CWA unions. Among the activists participating in the drive was United Media Guild vice president David Carson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“The Los Angeles Times is a great paper, and it will only be better with a democratic newsroom,” TNG-CWA president Bernie Lunzer said. “This is a chance to have a seat at the table.”

TNG-CWA already represents journalists at the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and several other major metropolitan newspapers — including the Boston Globe, Providence Journal, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Denver Post, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle.

The United Media Guild, a local union in TNG-CWA, represents employees at the Post-Dispatch, Peoria Journal Star, State Journal-Register, Rockford Register Star and Pekin Daily Times as well as the St. Louis Review, St. Louis Labor Tribune and the national Truthout digital publication.

UMG also helped initiate the successful organizing drives at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Lakeland Ledger in Florida.

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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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Fight For 15 Workers join UMG

Nov 29, 2017 by

The United Media Guild has proudly represented fast food organizers since the early days of the “Fight For 15” movement. Most recently we were the staff union for the (then) Mid-South Organizing Committee staffers in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana.

“Fight For 15” is the international movement of underpaid workers taking a stand against poverty wages. The activists we’ve represented have worked the front lines of that battle.

So the UMG is pleased to announced we now represent organizers coast to coast in the consolidated national fast food campaign.

Welcome the newest members of the United Media Guild!

Recently, UMG business representative Shannon Duffy and NewsGuild-CWA organizer Melinda Fiedler met with organizers in Washington D.C. and collected signed membership cards from a vast majority of them.

Then, on Nov. 29 the UMG was deemed to have majority status during a card check procedure, which is a simple and easy way for an employer and a union to determine if a majority of workers wish to be represented by a union. The card check was performed by a trusted third party neutral, Rabbi Susan Talve, in her office at the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis.

Welcome aboard sisters and brothers!

Soon we will start bargaining their initial collective bargaining agreement with the National Fast Food Workers Union (an affiliate of SEIU).

 This National Fast Food Workers Union (aka “Fight For 15”) unit joins Missouri Jobs With Justice and the Workers Interfaith Network of Memphis as social justice groups represented by the UMG.

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Annual Retiree/Alumni Luncheon set for Nov. 28

Nov 7, 2017 by

The United Media Guild will hold its annual retiree/alumni members luncheon at noon, Nov. 28 at Lombardo’s Restaurant at 201 S. 20th Street in St. Louis. (The restaurant is located in the lower level of the Drury Inn Union Station.)

The luncheon is free for our retiree/alumni members. The price for guests is $15. There will be a cash bar for beer, wine and mixed drinks. There is free parking for restaurant customers in the garage behind the hotel.

Please RSVP by leaving a message at 314-241-7046 or by e-mailing business manager Rachel Zaron at rzaron@unitedmediaguild.org by Nov. 21.

If you used to work at one of the units we represent and would like to become a retiree/alumni member, please contact the UMG office. Annual retiree/alumni dues are $12.

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Workers Interfaith Network, a small UMG bargaining unit in Memphis, is working with the (CWA) United Campus Workers and they are KILLING it!

Nov 1, 2017 by

An enormous victory for United Campus Workers

 

UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga just released public statements opting out of Governor Haslam’s plan to outsource facilities services. United Campus Workers, our small statewide union, took on a billionaire governor and a multinational corporation in a 3 year fight to save thousands of jobs … AND WE WON! The big domino has fallen so we’re anticipating more campuses to follow!!

UNITED CAMPUS WORKERS is a force to be reckoned with!

Thank YOU for your continued support for workers across Tennessee.  Workers Interfaith Network will continue to partner with UCW to help all workers throughout our state.

Check out Tennessee is not for Sale on Facebook

 

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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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TNG-CWA calls on St. Louis police to stop arresting working journalists

Oct 5, 2017 by

The mayor and acting police commissioner of St. Louis must be held accountable for the arrest of journalists covering public protests in the city, The NewsGuild-CWA declared at a meeting of its Executive Council on Oct. 5.

“The mayor and acting police commissioner must stop the practice of arresting of journalists who are doing their job — informing the people,” said Bernie Lunzer, president of NewsGuild-CWA, the parent union of the United Media Guild.

Five journalists were arrested on Oct. 3 while covering a protest of the acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley, who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. This was one of the many protests that have occurred since a judge found Stockley, a white patrolman, not guilty of the murder of Smith, who was black.

The Young Turks political reporter Jordan Chariton and his cameraman Ty Bayliss were detained overnight, as was NewsGuild member Al Neal, a reporter for People’s World. Independent journalist Jon Ziegler and freelance photographer Daniel Shular were also held along with a legal observer, Steven Hoffman. They were among the 143 persons arrested at the protest.

Several times police also threatened to arrest UMG member Robert Cohen, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer — despite the fact he remained behind police lines and away from the protest that briefly blocked Interstate 64.

Two journalists were arrested while reporting on protests on Sept. 17: UMG member Michael Faulk, a Post-Dispatch reporter, and Scott Olson, a Getty photographer.

Additionally, Post-Dispatch photographer and UMG member Christian Gooden was pepper-sprayed by police on Sept. 29 while covering protests — despite moving away from police and turning his back to them as they sprayed protesters.

Gooden was pepper-sprayed after chronicling a single protester being subdued with a taser and arrested.

“The police were aware of my presence did not react negatively as I photographed the arrestee, his arresting officers and the taser cords they pulled out of him,” Gooden reported to the UMG. “Soon thereafter, dozens of protesters convened at the police line to decry his arrest and the use of a taser. At this moment, police sprayed everyone in front of the police line in a sweeping motion.

“I stepped away until I thought they were done. When I turned back to approach the line, I saw a second spraying by police toward the protesters, who were still coming to see what was going on with the arrests. I turned away hoping to avoid a spray and calculated that my turned back would bear no threat.

“That’s when I felt a cool, wet stream of the pepper spray dousing the base of my head. As I felt the stream, it seemed as though the officer tried to maneuver the spray around my head to get to my eyes. Keeping pace with the spray, I turned my head to keep square with the stream and keep it out of my eyes.”

Gooden estimated that the spraying lasted 5 or 6 seconds.

“Mayor Lyda Krewson and acting Police Commissioner Lawrence O’Toole must put a stop to the arrest of journalists, legal observers and others without cause,” Lunzer said.

“Journalists play a special role – as do the police,” he said. “If police are to be respected, they must respect others.”

The ongoing problems in St. Louis are, sadly, not unusual. This is why NewsGuild-CWA has embarked on its multi-faceted “Right to Report” project. 

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