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New year, new members

The News Media Guild is gearing up for a recruiting drive in 2016 that aims to strengthen our union by expanding our membership.

Why the union is putting effort into increasing our membership now, when our contract is not up for renegotiation?

The fact is that bargaining our contract is just a part of what our union does. The time in-between talks is spent working to protect our members and make sure the contract is upheld and applied fairly.

Right now, about 300 potential members are working full time in the Associated Press Editorial Unit throughout the country, along with about 100 temporary and part-time staffers.

Many of these colleagues joined the company recently and would be willing to sign a card if they were simply asked. Others can be easily convinced it’s the right choice if they are made aware of the benefits of being a member.

Some more senior staffers may have expressed a reason for not joining the Guild in the past. We have learned that changing circumstances over time can result in some of them joining the union.

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS

With all of our efforts, the strength of our union is based on the number of members. Increasing our membership will fuel our ability to win grievances and empower us as we represent colleagues facing discipline.

Success in bringing a significant number of our co-workers on board will also mean that next year, when the contract expires, we’ll be a stronger union heading into another round of talks that promises to be difficult.

The Guild has brought back former AP staffer Eileen AJ Connelly to work with current members in this effort. AJ worked on a similar project in 2012, and was a member of the National Grievance Committee, a shop steward in Business News while working at the AP. She may be reached at ajconnelly@newsmediaguild.org

In addition, our parent union has hired Malcolm Emerich to work on union activism and organizing new shops. Our parent union, The NewsGuild is paying Emerich’s salary while he works to find new shops that would benefit our local and others in the New York City area.

Remember, each new member helps to make our Guild stronger for us all.