Proposed By-Laws Revisions

Here are the proposed by-laws. The revisions are clearly marked, with the old language crossed out and the new language added. The comments at the end are attorney’s remarks referencing a few of the changes.

Bylaws of the United Media Guild


The United Media Guild shall be governed by the Constitutions of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America [TNG] and CWA, and the following bylaws, which are supplementary thereto.



The jurisdiction of the United Media Guild shall be all work deemed appropriate by the local, by TNG, and by CWA.



Section 1. The membership meeting of the Local shall be the supreme authority of the Local.

Section 2. Between general meetings of the Local, its governing body shall be the Executive Committee, which shall administer affairs, but it shall make no decision permanently establishing the general policies of the Local.

Section 3. Bargaining Units shall exercise only those functions and powers specifically granted by the TNG-CWA and CWA Constitutions, and these Bylaws.


Membership Meetings

Section 1. Regular meetings of the membership shall be held four times a year the specific time and place to be set by the Executive Committee. The annual meeting shall be held in January, the last regular meeting in October. Two of the meetings shall be held in St. Louis and the other two meetings shall be held in cities with geographical proximity to Guild bargaining units outside of the St. Louis metropolitan area.  The Secretary shall give notice of all regular meetings, by mail to all members 15 days in advance of meetings at which Local officers or delegates to the TNG-CWA Sector Conference or CWA Convention are to be nominated, and by bulletin five days in advance of other meetings.

Section 2. A special membership meeting shall be called by the Secretary on instruction of the Executive Committee, or on a written petition signed by not fewer than 10 per cent of the membership in good standing at the time of the filing of the petition, or a request from any Unit properly voted at a quorum meeting of the Unit. The requirements for notices of special meetings shall be the same as those for regular meetings, except that in case of emergencies the Executive Committee may call special meetings on as little as one day’s notice.

Section 3. All meeting notices must include agendas.

Section 4. At any general membership meeting, the presence of one officer plus ten members in good standing shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5. Only members in good standing shall vote or have the right to the floor


Executive Committee

Section 1. (a) The Executive Committee shall consist of the Local officers and delegates as defined in this article.  the chairpersons of the units, together with one additional delegate from each unit for every 100 members of each unit or major fraction thereofThe offices shall be: President, 1st Vice president, 2nd Vice President, Recording-Secretary and Treasurer.  Delegates shall be apportioned based on the size of the various bargaining units.  Members of each bargaining unit will have their Unit Chair serve on the E.C. and will elect any additional delegates to the E.C. based on the following schedule:

26 to 60 – 1 additional delegate

61 to 100 – 2 additional delegates

101 to 150 – 3 additional delegates

151 to 200 – 4 additional delegates

201 and greater – 5 additional delegates

The only exceptions to this schedule shall be Locals which enter UMG via merger with specific rights as agreed to in their merger agreement.  The Peoria Journal-Star Unit,  shall have its Unit Chair and Vice Chair serve on the EC. (*Note:  This arrangement is a result of the Merger Agreement signed in 2011 which stated that the Peoria Unit would have its former Local President and two vice-presidents serve on the E.C.  When the 2nd vice-president position was eliminated due to the outsourcing of the circulation department, that number fell to two.)

Section 2. The Executive Committee shall meet at least once monthly on dates to be decided by the Committee.

Section 3. The President of the Local may call a special meeting of the Executive Committee on his/her own initiative, and shall call a special meeting upon the written request from any five members of the Ex­ecutive Committee. A special meeting may be convened as quickly as at least 75 per cent of the committee’s members have been notified and reasonable effort has been made to notify all members.

Section 4. At any meeting of the Executive Committee the presence of eight members, including two officers, 50 per cent of the members shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5. The Executive Committee shall approve all disbursements and investment of Local funds. Checks shall be valid only when signed with written approval by two Local officers.



Section 1. The United Media Guild shall have as Local officers a President, a First Vice-President, a Second Vice-President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. Only members in good standing may serve as officers.

Section 2. The President shall preside at all membership meetings and at meetings of the Executive Committee and shall supervise other officers in the exercise of their respective duties.

The President shall, with Executive Committee approval, appoint appropriate standing committees, which shall include: Finance & Budget, Human Rights, Communications, Organizing, Community Outreach, and any other deemed necessary.

The President shall also appoint, with Executive Committee approval, Grievance Committees for all units in the Local and shall sign all membership cards.

Section 3. The First Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President; such duties will fall to the Second vice-president in the absence of both the President and First vice-president.

Section 4. The Secretary shall be the custodian of the Local’s records other than financial; shall conduct routine correspondence of the Local other than financial, and such other correspondence as may be directed by the Executive Committee and the Local; shall keep accurate minutes of membership meetings and meetings of the Executive Committee, and shall be responsible for the issuance of notices for all regular and special meetings of the Local.

Section 5. The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all funds of the Local under the direction of the Executive Committee, except that no authorization shall be required for routine office expenses, and routine transmission of International funds to TNG. The Treasurer shall report on the Local’s finances at all regular meetings of the Local and whenever called upon by the Executive Committee or the Local and shall present all accounts for audit at any time the Executive Committee or the Local desires. The Treasurer shall keep complete and accurate records of the membership, their addresses and dues standing. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the application in the Local of the financial provisions of the TNG Constitution and of these bylaws, acting through Unit treasurers in the case of members of Units, and shall issue to Unit treasurers membership cards for persons admitted to membership, as well as dues and assessment stamps, and other routine supplies, required for their work. The Treasurer shall be paid one dollar a year by the Local.

Section 6. All Local and unit officers and employees of the Local handling Local or unit funds[MSOffice1]  shall be bonded in a sum set annually by the Executive Committee.


Administrative Officer

Section 1. The administrative officer shall supervise the operations and the employees of the union office, and the day-to-day activities of the union. The administrative officer shall maintain the records of the Local and submit to the CWA or TNG-CWA any information or funds they may properly require. The Administrative Officer shall be the chief negotiator in oversee all contract negotiations on behalf of any of the Local’s Units, shall process grievances and arbitrations, engage in organizing, and shall represent the union and its locals to the companies or other entities with which the union has, or is seeking to have, contractual agreements. He/she shall attend meetings of the Local, Executive Committee and its subcommittees, report on Local and Unit activities to the Committee and confer with the Committee and its members on Local and Unit business.

Section 2.  The Executive Committee shall recommend the hiring of the administrative officer, subject to ratification by the Local membership. The Committee shall negotiate the salary, benefits and working conditions of the administrative officer, and it may contract with this officer for a period no more than two three years. The Committee may recommend discharging the administrative officer for just cause, subject to terms of his/her work contract, and upon ratification by the Local membership.



Section 1. The officers of the Local Executive Committee shall be elected triennially . Only members in good standing can serve on the Executive Committee.

Section 2. On or before September 1, the Local shall notify the membership of upcoming nominations.  Nominations of candidates for Local offices shall be received from the floor at the regular October  meeting of the membership. shall be made by members in good standing will be accepted by the Local, in writing during the period of September 10 through October 5.  The Elections Committee, appointed by the President, shall mail a Notice of Elections along with a complete list of qualified candidates immediately after October 10.  Ballots shall be mailed to members by October 31.  Marked ballots shall be returned by mail to a designated Post Office Box.  To be valid, such ballots must be received not later than November 20 and found by the Elections Committee in the designated P.O. Box.  be received from the floor at the regular October  meeting of the membership .

Section 3. A) Any nominee present at the nomination meeting shall indicate acceptance or rejection of his/her nomination. Of nominees not present at the meeting, The Secretary Elections Committee shall obtain within three business days signed statements indicating their acceptance or rejection. Only nominees indicating their willingness to serve shall be considered qualified candidates. A member may accept nomination for only one office.

          B) Nominations of candidates for Local offices also may be made by petitions signed by not less than 10 per cent of the membership in good standing, provided: (1) that such petitions must be filed with the Secretary of the Local by November 5 and (2) that they must be accompanied by a signed statement by each such nominee indicating a willingness to serve as an officer of the Local if elected.

C)  The election of Local officers counting of the ballots shall take place in the first week of December. The Executive Committee shall determine the exact, date, time and method of election. Balloting may be by mail or by ballot box. In the event there is no contest for an office at the end of the business day on November October 5, the Executive Committee shall declare the nominee elected.

Section 4. No later than 15 days before the election, the Secretary Elections Committee shall send to all members and post on all union bulletin boards located in all workplaces the Local’s website a list of the qualified candidates together with a notice of the exact date, time and method of election.

Section 5. In contested elections, a plurality of those voting shall be required to elect. In the event of a tie, a run-off election shall be conducted in the same manner as the election resulting in a tie. In case of ballot box elections, a recount shall be performed and the run-off election will be held immediately. In case of a mail ballot, the run-off election to resolve a tie will be held promptly after the election that resulted in the tie[MSOffice2] .

Section 6. A) All mail ballots for any election, including a run-off election, shall be mailed to the members in good standing no less than 15 days before the count and include the day, date, time and location of the ballot count. All ballots returned to the Post Office after the day of counting shall be discarded.  All mail-in ballots shall contain the following instructions:

“Mark the ballot and fold it face in. Place the folded ballot in the smaller envelope and seal it. Place the smaller envelope containing the ballot in the addressed return envelope. Sign and print your name on the addressed return (outer) envelope for verification of eligibility. Only ballots returned in the official return envelope with a verified signature will be counted. Your signature can not be matched with your vote.”

B) In the event a member did not receive a mail ballot, the member will be allowed to cast a ballot after signing, in person at the Guild office, an affidavit stating the ballot was never received in the mail and that if the ballot should be delivered in the future, said ballot will be destroyed.

C). Absentee ballots for matters to be considered by general assemblies of the Local or its Units shall be provided to members only for reasons of legitimate hardship and only when the assemblies are to consider an established motion, such as whether to ratify a contract proposal. The election committee shall consider requests for absentee ballots and may provide them only if an applicant can demonstrate that the meeting time will conflict with a formal family obligation, such as a wedding or graduation; travel obligations that already have been paid for; serious medical conditions, or work. The committee shall require an applicant to include written verification of the conflict. It is the intention of the Guild that its members should attend assembly meetings to allow for full participation in Guild issues.

Absentee ballots shall be counted separately and added to the voting totals, and a record of the absentee-ballot totals shall be kept with the voting records. Absentee ballots shall not be counted if the motion to be considered has been modified on the floor or if received at the Guild office after 5 p.m. two days before the scheduled vote. All other rules regarding the preparation and preservation of ballots shall apply to absentee ballots.

Absentee ballots shall be sent by the Postal Service or union-represented delivery company to members who are employed outside the St. Louis metropolitan area. If the schedule vote is convened with less than a week’s notice, the election committee or the administrative officer can supervise the vote electronically for members of bureaus outside of the St. Louis area or those on out-of-town assignments.

Section 7. All officers shall take the oath and assume office at the January meeting and shall hold office until the next January meeting three years hence or until their successors are elected and installed.

Section 8. When a vacancy occurs in the office of President, the First-Vice President will serve as President on an interim basis until a special election can be held.

When a vacancy occurs in any office other than President, the Executive Committee shall designate someone from among them to perform the duties of the office on an interim basis. If the remaining term of office is longer than six months, a special election will be held.

Special elections will be held in conformity with the general provisions of this Article for nomination and election of officers.

Section 9. Delegates and alternates to TNG-CWA Sector Conference and the international convention of CWA shall be nominated from the floor at the regular membership meeting in the spring. At that meeting, the number of delegates and alternates to be elected also shall be determined.

Section 10. (a) Election of convention delegates shall be by secret mail ballot within two weeks after the nomination meeting. If there are only as many nominees as delegates and alternates to be elected, they shall be declared elected by acclamation. If there are more candidates than delegates and alternates to be elected, the number of candidates to be elected and receiving the most votes are to be declared elected. Delegates shall have their necessary expenses to the Convention paid by the Local.

(b) If an elected delegate is unable to attend the convention, then the alternate with the greatest number of votes shall replace him/her as a delegate.

(c) Any instructions given to convention delegates by a membership meeting shall be considered advisory rather than mandatory.

Section 11. The three members of the Employees Pension Committee, whose terms are set forth in the Pension Plan, shall be nominated and elected under the same general rules governing the election of officers.

Section 12. Elections of Local officers and of delegates and alternates to the TNG-CWA Sector Conference, CWA Convention and members of the Employees Pension Committee shall be under supervision of a standing Elections Committee consisting of five members of the Local appointed by the president. No member of the election committee shall be an officer or a candidate for office.

Section 13.  The Elections Committee shall count the votes. In the case of ballot box elections, the count shall begin after the poll closes. In the event of mail elections, the count shall be within five days after the end of the election period. The election period shall be defined as 15 days from the date ballots were mailed to members. Three day notice shall be given of an Election Committee meeting at which mail election votes will be counted. Any candidate has the right to be present or have an observer present. The complete election results shall be posted on union bulletin boards in the workplace, on the Local’s website and in the next edition of the No. 47.

Section 14.   All ballots, eligibility lists and related election materials in Local and Unit elections shall be kept in a safe place in the Guild office for one year.

Section 15.   Regular delegates to Labor Councils and to the Midwest District Council of the TNG-CWA shall be nominated from the floor and elected at a regular membership meeting. The Executive Committee may name Local representatives to special meetings or seminars. Delegates and representatives shall have necessary expenses paid by the Local.

Section 16.  Appeals shall first be directed to the Election Committee in accordance with the CWA Constitution, Article XV, Section 5. The membership shall be the arbiter of all Local election disputes.



Section 1. Each Unit shall have as officers a Unit Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary-Treasurer. Unit officers shall serve three-year terms.

Section 2. (a) In Units with fewer than 100 members, officers and delegates to the Executive Committee of the Local shall be nominated at the October Unit nominating meeting. If there is no contest, the sole nominee will be declared elected.

If there are contests, elections shall be by secret ballot. Votes shall be counted by a committee of three Unit members appointed by the Unit chairperson each January. Those elected shall take office upon certification of the results of the election by the executive committee. Candidates or their representatives may observe the counting. Ballots shall be kept in a safe place for one year.

(b) In Units with 100 or more members, officers and delegates to the Executive Committee of the Local shall be nominated at the October Unit nominating meeting.

If there are contests, elections shall be by mail ballot, with the ballots mailed out within five (5) days of the meeting. Ballots must be returned by mail to the Guild’s official Post Office Box within 15 days after the ballots and notice of election are mailed[MSOffice3] . A plurality of those voting shall be required to elect.  Those elected shall take office upon certification of the election by the Executive Committee. Votes shall be counted by a committee of three Unit members appointed by the Unit chairperson each January. Candidates or their representatives may observe the counting. Ballots shall be kept in a safe place for one year.

(c) The unit election committee shall supervise balloting on contract and other unit issues.

Section 3. Vacancies in Unit offices or on the Unit’s delegation to the Local’s Executive Committee shall be filled in the manner described in Section 2 of this Article. Such nominations shall be convened no later than two months after the vacancy occurs.

Section 4. Unit election disputes shall be decided by the Executive Committee.

Section 5. The Unit chairperson shall preside at Unit membership meetings; appoint Unit committees, and serve on the Local’s Executive Committee. The chairperson shall appoint a temporary secretary to take minutes of a meeting if the Unit Secretary-Treasurer is not present.

Section 6. The First Vice-Chairperson shall serve as Chairperson in the absence of the Unit .

Section 7. The Unit Secretary-Treasurer shall be responsible for the keeping of minutes of Unit meetings and shall file two copies with the Local Secretary. The Unit Secretary shall give meeting notices. In the absence of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson the Unit Secretary shall act as Chairperson.

Section 8. The Unit Secretary-Treasurer under the direction of the Treasurer of the Local shall have charge of the execution of the fiscal provisions of the TNG-CWA Constitution and these Bylaws as they apply to members of his/her Unit. If the Unit has any funds of its own, the Unit Secretary-Treasurer shall be the custodian of such funds. The Unit Secretary-Treasurer shall report on the Unit’s finances at regular Unit membership meetings and file reports with the Local Treasurer. The Unit Secretary-Treasurer shall present all accounts for audit at any time the Unit or the Local’s Executive Committee desire.

Section 9. Units, by majority votes at Unit membership meetings, may levy Unit dues in addition to regular TNG-CWA dues and any TNG-CWA or Local special assessments. Such levies, however, must be approved by the Local’s Executive Committee. Unit funds may be used only for Unit expenses. They may not be contributed to individuals or organizations outside of the United Media Guild without the consent of the Local’s Executive Committee.

Section 10. The Unit officers shall supervise the handling of Unit funds except for payments of strictly routine nature. Unit funds shall be deposited or invested in a manner approved by the Unit membership. Checks shall only be valid if signed by two Unit officers.

Section 11. The Unit officers shall have the power to determine what constitutes a management department to be represented by a shop steward, with the goal of one steward per ten members. Stewards shall be elected annually by members of the shops. If no incumbent steward is available to conduct such an election, the Unit officers shall do it. The duties of stewards shall include distribution of informational material; keeping members of their shops informed; signing up new members; soliciting funds when it is in the Guild’s interest; watching for contract violations, and receiving and reporting grievances.

Section 12. The Unit officers, the Unit delegates to the Executive Committee and the stewards shall form a Stewards Council. The stewards shall elect from among their number a Chief Steward. The Council shall meet at least monthly.  

Section 13. Unit meetings may be called by the Unit Chairperson or on written petition signed by not fewer than 10 per cent of the Unit’s members in good standing.

Section 15. The Unit Secretary shall give notice by mail to all Unit members 15 days in advance of any regular or special meeting at which officers or Unit delegates to the Local Executive Committee are to be elected, and by bulletin five days in advance of other regular and special meetings, except that in emergencies, only 24 hours notice needs to be given for a special meeting.

Section 16. All Unit meeting notices must include agendas.

Section 17. At any unit meeting, one unit officer plus 10 percent of the members or 10 members, whichever is less, shall constitute a quorum  In units that include more than one member, there shall be no official meeting of fewer than two people.



Section 1.  An applicant for membership shall submit his/her application to the Executive Committee of the Local and final action upon any application shall be by the Local Executive Committee, subject to appeal as provided in the CWA Convention.  Anyone who has applied for membership and from whom dues and initial fees have been collected shall be considered a member in good standing even though the Executive committee may not have had time to approve his/her application. However, in the case of a union election, the prospective member’s application shall be ruled upon before he or she is declared eligible to nominate or run for office.  In the case of voting by secret ballot, ballots of such prospective members shall be sealed and not counted until the application for membership has been formally approved.


Section 2. Each applicant admitted or readmitted to membership shall pay one month’s dues and an initiation fee of 1.6% (one and six tenths percent) of one month’s salary which shall be paid before the applicant shall receive his/her membership card.  

Section 3. Good standing requirements of the TNG-CWA Constitution in respect to dues shall apply equally to initiation fee payments.

Section 4. A member who retires shall be eligible to retain membership in the Local in accordance with the provisions of the TNG-CWA Constitution.


Dues and Assessments

Section 1. Membership dues shall be as defined by the TNG-CWA Constitution and shall include, in addition to any other obligations so defined.

(a) Monthly payments shall be no less than those set forth in the Minimum Dues Schedule of the TNG-CWA Constitution. Where dues are checked off weekly, they shall be checked off at the rate of one and six-tenths percent of weekly earnings with a top cutoff as provided by the TNG-CWA Constitution. When new units join the United Media Guild through a merger, that agreement shall define the dues rate for those members. UMG merger agreements shall set a timetable for transitioning dues to a level acceptable to the Local. Where dues are paid monthly, the rate shall be equivalent to the same amount as though they had been checked off weekly. Members to whom “Exceptions and Particular cases” subsection of Article XVIII of the TNG-CWA Constitution applies shall pay according to the minimum amounts set forth in that subsection. Members in a Unit with duly authorized unit dues shall pay the additional amount of such unit dues.

(b) For Unit members in a department not under Guild contract, $2 per month.

(c) For associate members, $3 per year.

(d) For unemployed members, 10 cents per month after the twelfth month.

(e) For members who have retired from active employment but elect to remain in the Guild, $1 per month, or $2 if they take the Labor Tribune.

Section 2. The rates of dues set forth in Section 1 above and the rates of initiation fees set forth in Section 2 of Article IX may be increased by majority vote by secret ballot of the members in good standing at a regular or special meeting for which proper notice has been given.

Section 3. The Local may, by majority vote by secret ballot of the members in good standing at a regular or special membership meeting levy an assessment to meet emergency needs.

Section 4. All monies collected on behalf of or in the name of the Local except those collected for TNG or another branch of TNG, shall be the property of the Local.

Section 5. A Local Defense Fund may be kept in reserve for use in an emergency which shall be defined as a situation involving a strike or lockout of members of the St. Louis Local. The Defense Fund may also be used for extraordinary expenses from legal matters, such as defense from a unit clarification petition, but this authorization must be approved by the executive committee. The Defense Fund also may be used for relief of members kept from their work as a result of legally observing the picket line of another union, provided such use of funds is authorized by the Executive Committee with due regard to duration and other circumstances in each such instance. Defense Fund monies shall be maintained in non-speculative interest-bearing investments, as decided by the Executive Committee, with preference being given to United States Government bonds or shall be deposited in financial institutions wherein the deposits will be protected by federally regulated insurance.


Collective Bargaining

Section 1. The Executive Committee shall appoint members of the bargaining committee that will negotiate on behalf of the Local or any of its Units on matters of collective bargaining. As one of the goals, the Executive Committee shall appoint members that reflect the diversity of the bargaining unit. The bargaining committee may invite to bargaining sessions members of the Unit directly involved.

Section 2. Initial contract proposals must have the approval of the memberships of the Units involved, of the Local Executive Committee and the TNG-CWA International Executive Board Contracts Committee before they can be submitted to a company. Members shall be encouraged to submit proposals for contract changes to the Local Contract and Negotiations Committees before initial proposals are perfected.

Section 3. During negotiations, Guild negotiators shall keep members informed and consult with them.

Section 4. A strike, if it is deemed necessary by the negotiators, may be called by the Local Executive Committee but only after a strike vote has been adopted by a majority of those present and voting at a meeting of the Unit or Units directly involved held in accordance with these bylaws.

Section 5. Upon receipt of any proposed contract, the bargaining committee shall have ample time, no less than 24 hours, to review and debate the full proposal.

Section 6. Any agreement arrived at in negotiations must be approved by the members of the Unit or Units directly involved as provided under terms of the TNG-CWA Constitution.



Section 1. Discipline under these bylaws shall be governed by the TNG-CWA Constitution.

Section 2. Penalties which may be ordered in disciplinary procedures of the Local shall be those set out in the TNG Constitution.

Article XIII XII


Section 1. Any matter to be decided by the Local may be submitted to a referendum of the membership by the Executive Committee or a petition signed by no less than 10 percent of the membership. The exact wording of the issue to be decided by vote shall be contained in the petition.

Section 2. Provisions for the holding of a referendum shall be made by the Executive Committee, and may take the form of a vote by mail or a vote in person at designated polling places. No ballot shall be provided a member not in good standing, and all members shall be given fifteen days’ notice in advance of any referendum by mail.



Section 1. The communications committee shall maintain a Local website.


Public Conduct of the Local

Section 1. In order not to compromise the work and standing of its members, as an entity the St. Louis Newspaper Guild shall not endorse political candidates, nor contribute funds in partisan political campaigns. This provision does not preclude political action taken on an individuals own time. 

The Local may, however, take public positions on issues directly affecting the union’s collective bargaining role, as well as on other matters directly related to the interests of its members, including the practice and ethics of journalism.



Section 1. The bylaws may be amended by any membership meeting upon submission of the proposed amendment by the Executive Committee on its own motion or by petition signed by not less than 10 per cent of the membership in good standing. Such proposed amendment, along with a brief explanation of its intended purpose, shall be mailed to the membership not less than 15 days prior to the meeting with notice of the time and place of the meeting.



Section 1. These bylaws shall be interpreted by the Executive Committee subject to appeal to the membership meeting, to the International Executive Board and to the next International Convention of CWA TNG.

 [MSOffice1]Labor law requires that anyone with access to funds be bonded.

 [MSOffice2]Election law requires a separate 15 day notice of the runoff election.  Although you can mail the notice with the ballots, you could not achieve the 15 days advance notice if the runoff is held “no more than 15 days from the election resulting in the tie.” My tinkering is intended to fix this.

 [MSOffice3]Same problem as above:  you need 15 days notice of the election