New name for your parent union; Waggoner re-elected as international chair

Your parent union has a new name, and your president was re-elected as international chair of that union during a sector conference in Orlando, Fla.

Delegates to the 2015 Newspaper Guild sector conference in January voted to change the name to NewsGuild-CWA to reflect the change in the type of journalists we represent. Prior to the vote, TNG’s board, led by News Media Guild President Martha Waggoner in her role as international chair, supported the name change. Waggoner also supported the change.

News Media Guild President Martha Waggoner speaks the NewsGuild-CWA sector conference Jan. 17 , 2015, in Orlando, Fla.

News Media Guild President Martha Waggoner speaks the NewsGuild-CWA sector conference Jan. 17 , 2015, in Orlando, Fla.

Prior to the voice vote, TNG President Bernie Lunzer told delegates how long he’d wanted the change.

“In 1995, when there was the World Wide Web and the information super highway was coming our way, one of my first actions as secretary-treasurer was to reserve two URLs,” he said. He had no doubt that after the Guild met a couple of months later, the union would be using NewsGuild.org or MediaGuild.org.

He was wrong then, and wrong again several other times the past two decades. This year, he was pretty sure it would pass, and he was right.

Robert Lindgren, a younger delegate from the Denver Guild, opposed the change. He said his generation values authenticity and “I feel like that authenticity comes from a name like ‘The Newspaper Guild.’” He argued that non-traditional Guild units – translators, social workers, staff at unions and non-profits – are better served by a union with strong name recognition.

But another ounger delegate, Beth Kramer of Chicago, disagreed. NewsGuild “reflects the evolving industry we’re in while being close enough that we’re holding onto our wonderful brand and our history,” she said.

Three longer-serving Guild leaders, all local presidents, also supported the name change.

The United Media Guild’s Jeff Gordon reminded delegates that his local went through a major name change in 2011. As the local expanded far outside its city and state, and organized units other than papers, leaders realized that “St. Louis Newspaper Guild” was no longer accurate.

“We’ve had the argument locally and there was life after ‘newspaper’ was taken out of our name,” Gordon said, citing UMG’s members in social justice, television, digital media and more. The new name “has been helpful going forward to reach a broader audience.”

The delegates also elected the following officers without opposition: Waggoner as international chair; Lunzer as president; and Marian Needham, a TNG staff representative based in Buffalo, N.Y., as secretary-treasurer.