Replacing the annual dinner

As the United Media Guild evolves into a regional local representing a far-flung membership, we must rethink our social agenda to best serve all members.

Our Executive Committee decided to suspend the annual dinner this year and stage a variety of events instead. Our annual dinner had become a marathon event featuring a happy hour, buffet dinner, annual Local meeting and awards ceremony for both union activists and journalists.

Trying to get all this done in one event became difficult and expensive. While the dinner remained popular with retirees, it fell out of favor with active members and offered nothing for our many out-of-town members.

So our leadership is rethinking our social calendar so we can reach more people and make better use of our resources.

Here is what we are considering:

Annual meeting/social event February. We will need members to vote on our by-laws revisions and possibly our proposed merger with Memphis. This meeting will be open to all of our members and feature a hospitality event. We hope to set a date for this at our Jan. 9 executive committee meeting.

Journalism awards event. We are planning to honor the Terry Hughes Award winner and possible the John McGuire Award winner at a spring event for journalists inside and outside our units.

Advertising social event. We are planning to hold happy hours for our salespersons soon to discuss their issues and build solidarity.

Guild alumni party. Our retirees still want to get together. So do former Post-Dispatch employees who are working elsewhere. We need to determine what sort of event would draw the biggest crowd. Should we do a lunch? How about a happy hour? Should we wait for better weather and do a picnic? We are open to ideas.

Events outside of St. Louis. We have good-sized units in Pekin, Peoria, Springfield and Rockford. We may add Memphis. We need to plan events for these folks as well to keep our membership engaged.

We are open to suggestions. Our goal is to engage as many of our current and former members as possible. We are in a trial-and-error stage, but hopefully we can hit on some concepts that work for as many folks as possible.

Please contact the Guild office with any ideas you have. We will offer frequent updates on this site.