Democracy Works staff have earned recognition of their unionizing efforts four weeks after announcing their drive. The Democracy Workers Collective, representing about 30 employees of the non-profit, joins New Media Guild Local 31222.
An election was conducted for all seats on the News Media Guild’s Executive Committee (whose members shall also be jointly elected as TNG and CWA convention delegates) and the following seats on the Representative Assembly.
The following members have been elected without opposition:
Executive Committee and TNG Sector Conference/CWA Convention delegates. Three-year terms starting Feb. 22, 2021.
President and 1st delegate – Vin Cherwoo, New York
First Vice President and 2nd delegate – John Braunreiter, Milwaukee
Secretary-Treasurer and 3rd delegate – Amanda Holpuch, Guardian, New York
Second Vice President and 4th delegate – Michael Warren, Atlanta
Third Vice President and 5th delegate – Kim Kruesi, Nashville
Representative Assembly. Three-year terms of office for both delegate and alternate, starting Feb. 22, 2021. The RA is divided into districts. You must work within a district to represent that district.
Editorial Unit, Central: Noah Trister, Detroit
EU New York City: Larry Fenn, Data Web Development
EU East: Jimmy Golen, Boston
EU Photographers: Sue Ogrocki, Oklahoma City
EU South: Terry Spencer, West Pam Beach
EU Television: Vacant
EU Washington: Darlene Superville
EU West: Michelle Monroe, Phoenix
Technology Unit: Ed Morsett, Phoenix
EFE News Service: Albert Traver, Washington
Guardian-US: Erum Salam, New York
The following members were elected as alternates:
TU: Elvis Cruz, New York
EFE: Marc Arcas, Los Angeles
EU New York, Dan Derella, Photos
EU Washington: Will Lester, Washington
The News Media Guild’s top leaders met via Zoom Aug. 13-14 for its annual meeting, opting for a virtual gathering rather than in-person in Washington, D.C. due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Under the new format, leaders discussed the budget, discussed upcoming guild elections and focused on member recruitment. Here are some of the highlights:
The Representative Assembly adopted a new budget for the upcoming year that reflects ongoing bargaining expenses and membership levels.
News Media Guild President Jill Bleed, who works in the AP’s Little Rock bureau, announced she would not run for another term in the Guild’s upcoming elections. All Guild leadership seats are up for reelection this year. Anyone interested in running for office is encouraged to reach out to Bleed.
News Guild President Jon Schleuss gave an update on national efforts to organize and protect local newsrooms. The Guild’s new organizer, Marissa Dadiw, also provided an update on her ongoing union efforts.
This year’s Freeman Award was presented to the Washington state staffers for their extraordinary work on pressing the company for not following state law regarding sick leave carryover. Named for former Guild member and mobilizer Rick Freeman, the award honors the Guild member who goes above and beyond in service to the Guild. Rick, who died in 2017 from brain cancer at age 40, was a tireless advocate for unions and workers and we hope this award can keep his legacy alive.
The News Media Guild is sad to report the passing of AP Radio anchor and correspondent David Melendy, 71, and broadcast editor Virginia “Ginny” Byrne, 62 — both Guild leaders.
Melendy passed away April 18 at George Washington Hospital after a long battle with cancer. Byrne died on April 23 in New York City after also battling lung cancer.
Melendy retired from AP after 33 year of covering Congress, the White House, space launches and much more. He was presented the Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of 9-11. He also served as a member of the News Media Guild’s Executive Committee.
“I worked with David for decades and more recently collaborated with him at @PressClubDC after he retired. He was supremely intelligent with the utmost integrity and a tireless advocate for press freedom. RIP, my friend,” tweeted Mark Hamrick, Former National Press Club President.
Byrne began working for AP in the early 1980s, where she covered high-profile crime cases such as the shooting of NYPD Officer Steven McDonald and the Central Park Five case. She served in multiple positions for the News Media Guild, including on the Executive Committee.
“Ginny and I started on the AP broadcast desk in New York at about the same time. We shared an instant connection — maybe because of our shared Irish heritage, or maybe because I had some Byrne in me (my grandmother was a Byrne). Ginny, to me, was the quintessential New Yorker, boisterous (ok, maybe loud), outgoing, friendly, ready to grab a pint at the end of any shift,” wrote Paul Reilly, an union rep with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.
NewsGuild members are invited to join a town hall meeting to discuss racial insensitivity and injustice in our shops. All members are free to join but registration is required for the June 18th meeting and can be done so here. See information from NewsGuild-CWA President Jon Schleuss:
Join us to hear from Guild activists who helped organize the inspiring resistance at the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while continuing to cover an onslaught of breaking news. After brief presentations, we will invite all participants to share their views on how we can advance the fight for justice and how we can create structural change in the institutions where we work and in the Guild.
How can the Guild seize this moment to improve diversity, fairness and inclusion at work? How can we address the targeting of journalists by police? How should we respond when our employers fail to live up to journalistic standards, publish inflammatory falsehoods, or express (or ignore) racial bias?
We won’t solve these problems in one Zoom meeting, but it is important that we begin building a network to address systemic issues with a systematic response.
I hope you’ll be part of the conversation on Thursday and continuing until we have achieved real, permanent change.