UMG honors journalism, activists at Local Meeting

The United Media Guild honored journalist MicheleMunz Munz and several of its activists at a Local Meeting Thursday night in St. Louis.

Munz won the Terry Hughes Award for her distinctive reporting and writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A panel of past Terry Hughes Award winners selected her work to be honored.

Hughes was a Post-Dispatch columnist who died of breast cancer in 1991 at age 36. Her columns included the perspectives of everyday people and their struggles.
The judges noted that Munz often writes stories about the sick and disabled, people who typically remain out of view from the quick pace of modern journalism. She wrote about a deaf 22-year-old woman who learned she would also go blind; a Ballwin mother who makes capes to make children with illnesses feel like superheroes; and a Washington University physician who created a charity to give school-age girls in Ethiopia sanitary pads.

The following awards were given to UMG activists:

Steward of the Year: Our unit chair at the Pekin Daily Times, reporter Miranda Henderson, was honored for her diligent work in enforcing our contract at that GateHouse Media property. Among the recent issues she assisted us on: getting employee bonuses paid properly, as dictated by our latest contract, and integrating employees of other GateHouse publications in the area into the Pekin unit.

Solidarity Award: Our members at the Mid-South Organizing Committee — the organizers of the “Fight for 15” movement for fast food workers — were honored for sticking together through the negotiation of a more comprehensive collective bargaining agreement. The unit has members working across the Midwest and the South. Unit chair Shawnte Poynter, currently working out of Little Rock, accepted the award for the group.

Activist of the Year: Photographer Max Gersh, our unit chair at the Rockford Register Star, was honored for his persistent leadership in the face of company harassment. Twice the UMG filed unfair labor practice charges against the companies for actions against Gersh. To settle the charges, the company not only withdrew its disciplinary actions, it agreed to progressive discipline language that took effect while we are still bargaining our first contract. Gersh first joined the Guild as an intern for the Post-Dispatch.

Guilder of the Year: Our highest activist honor went to UMG treasurer John Mues, a member since 1972. He is on his second lengthy tour on our Executive Committee. He has served on our Post-Dispatch bargaining committees, been highly active on our corporate campaigns, assisted on various organizing drives, participated in countless social justice actions and most recently assisted our efforts to streamline our Local administrative operation. In short, John has always been there for the Guild and his co-workers whenever help is needed.