UMG honors top activists with annual awards

The United Media Guild named Springfield unit chair Dean Olsen its Guilder of the Year at its Local meeting Thursday evening.

Olsen led the organizing effort at the State Journal-Register that led to an overwhelming 26-4 vote to union. Then he led the internal and external mobilization campaigns to build support inside and outside the newsroom.

He also serves on the bargaining committee working to gain a first contract at the GateHouse newspaper. His relentless effort has been an inspiration to all the UMG’s leaders and staff.

Also at the Local meeting:

State Journal-Register employees collectively earned the UMG’s Solidarity Award for sticking together in this fight. They are mounting an excellent pro-SJ-R campaign in Springfield.

Rockford unit chair Melissa Westphal earned Activist of the Year for her assistance in organizing the Register Star and Freeport Journal-Standard newspapers. Like Olsen, she is serving on the bargaining committee seeking a first contract at the newspapers. She has become a tireless advocate for journalists at those newspapers.

Lisa Johnston earned Steward of the Year for her work on behalf of co-workers at the St. Louis Review. With that newspaper morphing into a multi-platform operation, she has worked to protect Guild jurisdiction over that content.