Tag Archives: recruiting

NMG Leaders Meet To Discuss Budget, Recruitment, Elections

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.

NEWS: Supreme Court rules against public sector unions collecting agency fees

The Supreme Court has ruled that unions representing government workers cannot force non-members to pay agency fees.


CLICK HERE to read the AP story.

Other key links:

Union presidents gather at CWA meeting ahead of Supreme Court ruling

Presidents representing locals within the Communications Workers of America gathered in Washington this week ahead of an expected U.S. Supreme Court decision that could drastically change how union fees are collected in public-sector unions.

President Jill Bleed attended the one-day meeting to represent the News Media Guild.

CWA President Chris Shelton told the nearly 300 delegates at the CWA presidents’ meeting that unions must look beyond members’ individual needs to the broader issue of keeping unions alive. CWA has made an effort to sign up new members as part of an initiative called CWA Strong in anticipation of the Janus court decision, which deals with whether a non-member in a public sector union must pay agency fees.

CWA represents hundreds of thousands of public- and private-sector workers in the media, telecommunications, airline, information technology and other industries. Shelton says that the union has added more than 7,300 new members in the public-sector unit as part of CWA Strong since 2016.

In New Jersey, public-sector locals are at record membership levels, while membership in right-to-work states is stable or growing, Shelton said.

If the high court rules against the unions, CWA is expected to lose revenue from about 25,000 agency fee payers _ or about $6.5 million, according to CWA Secretary/Treasurer Sara Steffens. The union has committed to cutting its budget (excluding staff and salaries) but Steffens said a longer-term fix is needed.

“We can’t cut our way out of this problem,” she said.

To stay viable, the union must have strong stewards, active and well-run locals, and keep in contact with current and future members, Steffens said.

The News Media Guild, funded in part by a CWA grant, has added 40 new members in the past year under the CWA Strong initiative.


NMG hires former member Rick Freeman as mobilizer

Former AP sports staffer Rick Freeman has been hired as a mobilizer by the News Media Guild as the union prepares for bargaining with The Associated Press.

Freeman worked for AP from 2001-2015 in New York as a desk supervisor, editor and sports writer.

He served in formal and informal roles with the Guild during his time with the company, including as an an alternate and delegate to the Guild’s Representative Assembly from 2011 until he left the company.

“No one works harder to tell the world’s stories than AP journalists, and I’m fired up to be able to focus on helping the AP’s workers get the best possible contract this year,” Freeman said. “We’re going to stand together to make sure our workers get the recognition and compensation they deserve.”

Freeman covered dozens of ballgames and events for the AP, and worked almost every shift the department had to offer. He is based in New York City.

Atlanta, them home to NYC

My trip to Atlanta last week was my final buro visit in the Guild’s spring recruiting project.

I met some terrific members, including those pictured, Errin Haines, left, and Kate Brumback, who joined me and steward Dorie Turner-Nolt for some shoptalk after work.

As in most of the other buros I visited in the last three months, I also saw a lot of empty desks in Atlanta. The staffing reductions in the last few years are felt everywhere, but we keep working, keeping the wire alive with quality journalism.

These are difficult times in our industry, and we can likely expect to continue to feel the impact of those difficulties at the AP.

To me, this makes Guild membership even more important. We need to have everyone on board to provide smart, forward-thinking suggestions on how to address the changes we are seeing, to make sure everyone is given the training and equipment they need and that all are treated fairly under our contract.

I return to the Business News department next week, and while I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this project for the Guild, I’m also aware I wasn’t the only one making an extra effort. My absence from our department was surely felt, and I owe a big thanks to all of my colleagues who carried the burden while I’ve been gone.

I also want to thank the stewards and other Guild members across the country who have welcomed me and helped coordinate my visits. It’s been a terrific experience meeting so many of my colleagues and hearing their stories!

I encourage everyone to keep talking with non-members about the Guild. Together, we can continue to build our union and make it stronger.

In unity,
AJ Connelly