The elected leaders of the News Media Guild did the work that had to be done, such as approving a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, then spent much of their time discussing how they can build a stronger union.
The members of the Executive Committee and the Representative Assembly held their annual meeting Aug. 7-9 in Washington, D.C. They discussed organizing new offices, as we did with the Guardian US staff, and signing up more non-members at The Associated Press. They also discussed ways to get more members involved in the union with small tasks such as increasing participation on shoptalk, the Guild’s list serve, and writing stories for the new website.
Attending the meeting from the Guardian US were Jana Kasperkevic and Anna Codrea-Rado, who talked about why their newsroom chose the News Media Guild when they decided to form a union. They said one of the main reasons was that NMG leaders and those of our parent union, NewsGuild-CWA, responded so quickly and thoroughly to their questions and concerns.
“Although it was good to see old friends again, veterans of so many RAs, the best thing for me was to see young people coming up with enthusiasm and new ideas,” said Jorge Banales, the RA member for EFE, the Spanish-language news service.
The RA elected a new chair, Carla Johnson of Chicago, and a new vice chair, Stephanie Nano of New York City.
“It comes down to giving us all a stronger voice in shaping our work lives and, ultimately, improving the quality of journalism at our news organizations,” Johnson said. “That’s why I’m getting more involved in our union.”
The participants approved appointments to three standing committees; human rights and equity, health and safety and professionalism. Members of the human rights and equity committee are: Barbara Rodriguez of Des Moines, chair; Stephanie Siek of New York City and Russell Contreras of Albuquerque. Members of the health and safety committee are: Stephanie Nano of New York City, chair; Dave Herron of Seattle and Sue Ogrocki of Oklahoma City. Members of the professionalism committee are: Jill Zeman Bleed of Little Rock, chair; Margery Beck of Omaha; and Carol Druga of Atlanta.
“I witnessed firsthand that our union is alive and well, tangible and very relevant,” said Jeff Turner, an RA member from Los Angeles. “I was able to learn how the Guild works for us and how important our union really is, not just for me personally but every employee in my office and throughout the AP.”
NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer and CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, who spoke to the EC on Friday, congratulated our local for organizing the 45 staffers of the Guardian US. They also discussed plans for future organizing of digital journalists.
“The meeting provided some great ideas on how to approach recruiting and to do more to keep the union active between bargaining sessions,” said Will Lester, the RA member from Washington, D.C.