Guild officers review bargaining, set strategy at annual meeting

Miami photographer Lynne Sladky, Little Rock BNS Jill Bleed, Rick Gentilo of APTN in DC and RA chairman/Minneapolis newsman Steve Karnowski brainstorm on future protests of AP's insulting contract offers.

Miami photographer Lynne Sladky, Little Rock BNS Jill Bleed, Rick Gentilo of APTN in DC and RA chairman/Minneapolis newsman Steve Karnowski brainstorm on future protests of AP’s insulting contract offers.

News Media Guild officers discussed the latest developments in contract bargaining with The Associated Press and strategized on the Guild’s next steps during their annual meeting this past weekend.

Guild staff and nearly two dozen officers, representing each of the Guild’s geographic regions and job categories from technicians to broadcast staff, met in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and Sunday.

They discussed the tenure of bargaining, which is now in its 13th month, as well as the current main sticking points between the two sides and the key goals of the Guild’s bargaining team.

They also reviewed the status of mobilizing, followed by a brainstorming session that produced lots of great ideas for future mobilizations.

CWA staff chief Ron Collins, left, discusses labor movement news and strategies with NMG's administrator, Kevin Keane; President Martha Waggoner, 2nd vice president David Melendy and 1st vice president/mobilizer Linda Johnson.

CWA staff chief Ron Collins, left, discusses labor movement news and strategies with NMG’s administrator, Kevin Keane; President Martha Waggoner, 2nd vice president David Melendy and 1st vice president/mobilizer Linda Johnson.

 

Other highlights of the meeting:

_approval by the Representative Assembly, the Guild’s legislature, of the budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The budget, which had been unanimously endorsed by the Guild’s seven-member Executive Committee when it met separately on Friday, totaled just over $898,000. That was down slightly from the 2013-14 budget of about $940,000.

 

The officers also discussed the current financial status of the Guild and AP.

_an update on membership levels and plans for recruiting more members ahead of an eventual vote on a tentative contract.

_a review of pending grievance cases, along with grievances resolved over the past year.

_appointments of a number of NMG activists to fill open spots on various union committees.

_development of plans for more flyers and other communications to keep staff current on progress to date, the potential impact of key proposals by the two sides and other important topics.

The union on Sunday distributed to the staff via Shoptalk two updated side-by-side pieces comparing: the Guild’s position with the AP’s on about 40 contract articles and side letters, and the provisions of the current health care plan with the latest on-the-record proposals from the Guild and the AP.

Contract bargaining resumes in New York on Aug. 18 and 19. Stay tuned for plans and news related to that round of talks.