By-Laws

As amended Jan. 10, 2002

ARTICLE I – STRUCTURE

ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP

ARTICLE III – DUTIES OF OFFICERS

ARTICLE IV – EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

ARTICLE V – ELECTIONS

ARTICLE VI – UNITS

ARTICLE VII – COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

ARTICLE VIII – DISCIPLINE

ARTICLE IX – DUES AND ASSESSMENTS

ARTICLE X – PUBLICATION

ARTICLE XI – REFERENDUM

ARTICLE XII – AMENDMENTS

ARTICLE XIII – INTERPRETATIONS

ARTICLE XIV – EFFECT


The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild (hereinafter called the Local) shall be governed by the Constitutions of The Newspaper Guild-CWA (TNG-CWA) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA), their policies adopted in Sector Conference and International Convention, respectively, and the following bylaws, which are supplementary thereto.

ARTICLE I – STRUCTURE

1. The General Membership shall be the supreme authority of the Local. This authority shall be exercised in elections, referendums and the General Membership meeting.

2. The Executive Council (Council) shall be the administrative, legislative and policy-making body of the Local as provided herein, subject to the authority of the General Membership.

3. Units established by the Local shall exercise only those functions and powers specifically granted by the TNG-CWA and CWA Constitutions and these bylaws.

ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP

1. Any applicant for membership shall submit his/her application to the Council. Final action upon any application shall be by the Council, subject to appeal, as provided by the TNG-CWA Constitution.

2. Regular meetings of the General Membership shall be held five times a year. Two of the meetings will be held in Baltimore. The location of the meetings shall be determined by the Council.

3. The Secretary shall give no less than 15 days’ notice by mail to the membership in advance of every membership meeting, except that in an emergency the Council may call a special meeting on two days’ notice. Notice shall be given by mail, except that in units which by contract are entitled to use bulletin boards in the shops, notice may be given by hand distribution of written notices to members in the shops, such notice also to be posted on bulletin boards. No motion to reverse or review previous decisions of the General Membership or Council shall be acted upon unless a notice of such motion signed by at least fifty (50) members in good standing who include members from three or more units shall have been submitted by the Secretary in advance of the distribution of the notice of said meeting. In the event a notice to move for such a review or reversal is so submitted, the Secretary of the Local shall include this notice in the of the meeting.

4. A quorum at any General Membership meeting shall be twenty-five (25) members in good standing.

5. No persons actively serving the interest of employers or another labor organization as against the interests of the Guild or CWA shall be eligible for membership.

6. When an individual has employment within a bargaining unit of another local and not employment within a bargaining unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, that individual shall not be a member of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild.

ARTICLE III – DUTIES OF OFFICERS

1. The President shall:

a. Preside at General Membership meetings and Council meetings.

b. Serve as an ex officio and non-voting member of all standing and special committees.

c. Sign all membership cards and all Local contracts approved by the Council.

2. The Vice President shall perform the duties of the President during the absence of disability of the President.

3. The Treasurer shall:

a. Be custodian of all Local funds.

b. Cause to be kept in orderly fashion all fiscal records of the Local and cause to be made all financial reports required by TNGCWA.

c. Give clear and detailed reports on the Local’s financial condition at each regular Council meeting and General Membership meeting.

4. The Secretary shall cause to be kept all records of the Local except fiscal records, shall conduct correspondence as directed by the Council and the Local, and shall keep accurate minutes of all Council and General Membership meetings.

5. The Administrative Officer shall be the principal paid employee of the Local, under the immediate supervision of the elected officers. He/she shall:

a. Not be a member of the Council.

b. Plan, shape and direct the organization and negotiation program of the Local under the supervision of the Council.

c. Serve as the chief negotiator of all Local contracts except as otherwise directed by the Council.

d. Supervise the office clerical employees of the Local, direct the activities of the Local Representatives, and assume responsibility for operation of the Local office or offices.

e. Contribute recommendations, express opinions and make regular reports to the Council and to General Membership meetings on the conduct of his/her responsibilities and the affairs of the Local.

6. No TNG-CWA officer or employee, and no Council member, shall be a paid employee of the Local, but this shall not prevent the Council from reimbursing Local members for wages lost due to temporary absence from their employment for purposes of conducting authorized Local business.

7. All officers responsible for handling funds shall be bonded in an amount set by the Council.

ARTICLE IV – EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

1. The Executive Council of the Local shall consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer; five (5) members in good standing elected at large; the Unit Chairperson or alternate from all units having 50 members or more in good standing; one (1) delegate for each 200 members in good standing from each unit; and one (1) delegate for each 50 members in good standing from the combined total of all units with fewer than 50 members, plus at-large members, the delegate(s) to be elected by the small units and at-large members. The Immediate Past President shall be a non-voting member of the Council.

2. The Council shall meet at least once each month but shall be subject to call of the President on written request by a majority of the Council. A majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. In the event of a mail, e-mail or telephone poll of the Council on an emergency question arising between meetings, the action taken shall be subject to review at the next Council meeting. Any five members of the Council may demand an emergency meeting of the Council to consider the matter on which a mail or telephone poll is taken. In the event of such demand, the meeting shall be held within two days or the action deferred to the next Council meeting.

3. The Council shall:

a. Supervise the handling of all local funds except for payments of a strictly routine nature, and designate at least one office without whose signature, in addition to that of the Treasurer, no checks shall be valid.

b. Have general supervision of all Local officers.

c. Cause to be reported to the General Membership at least quarterly the financial condition of the Local, citing the balance in each of the operating, reserve and severance funds, operating income and expenses for the period since the last former report.

d. Fulfill such other functions as are assigned to it by these bylaws or by the TNG-CWA or CWA Constitutions.

e. Call special General Membership Meetings within eight (8) days of receipt of the written request of fifty (50) members in good standing for the purpose of taking action stated in the request.

f. Make recommendations to the General Membership with respect to any matter which affects the Local or any unit thereof.

g. Fix the pay of, employ, dismiss and supervise the activities of the Administrative Officer, and approve the employment agreements of and dismiss the other paid staff of the Local.

h. Appoint delegates to organizations with which the Local is affiliated except as otherwise provided in these bylaws.

4. The Council may on its own motion call special General Membership meetings for the purpose stated in the motion, as provided in Article II, Section 3.

ARTICLE V – ELECTIONS

A. Election of At-Large Officers, TNGCWA Sector Conference Delegates and Alternates, CWA Convention Delegates and Alternates and Delegates and Alternates to Labor Bodies.

1. The at-large officers of the Local shall be elected every two years by secret ballot. They shall take office on a date set for the January General Membership meeting and shall hold office until the scheduled date of the January meeting two years following.

2. Nomination of at-large officers and at-large members of the Council shall be received from the floor at the November General Membership Meeting. Nominations may also be received by petition of a minimum of twenty-five (25) members in good standing from at least three units of the Local who shall file their petition with the Secretary no later than fifteen (15) days after the floor nominations have been officially reported to the membership. In the event that, following the petition period, there is no contest for any office, the local Elections and Referendum Committee shall declare the nominee or nominees for that office elected.

3. If a nominee is neither present at the November meeting nor indicates in writing his/her willingness to accept nomination, the Secretary shall inform him/her of his/her nomination in writing within three (3) days. The member shall accept in writing within seven (7) days or else be disqualified.

4. A local Elections and Referendum Committee shall be named by the Council at least annually. This committee shall prepare the ballot form listing candidates for each contested office in alphabetical order and the unit to which each candidate belongs. There shall be no write-in balloting. A sample ballot shall be distributed to members at least fifteen (15) days prior to the election. The president of the Local shall be an automatic ex-officio member of the committee.

5. Balloting shall be as provided in Article XI of these bylaws. Each member shall be notified by mail or other means at the address the member provides, at least 15 days prior to the election, of the time and place of the election. The election shall be held no later than 10 days before the January membership meeting.

6. If there is only one candidate for an office, he/she shall be declared elected without balloting. In the event there are more than two candidates, a plurality of those voting shall be required to elect, except in the case of the at-large Council members where the candidates to the number of positions to be filled receive the highest number of votes shall be elected. In the event of a tie vote for an office there shall be a runoff election between those candidates who received the same number of votes, but higher than the other candidate(s) for the same office. Such runoff election will take place no later than sixty (60) days following the date of the Local Elections and Referendum Committee’s Official Ballot Count and shall be provided in Section 4 of this Article. Until a successor is elected, the incumbent shall continue in office.

7. Candidates are entitled to publication by the Local on an equal basis of statements limited in length as the Council may direct after consultation with the candidates.

8. Delegates and alternates to regular TNG-CWA Sector Conferences and CWA Conventions shall be nominated separately from the floor at a General Membership meeting, which shall also determine the number of each to be elected. The secretary shall give fifteen (15) days’ notice of this meeting. If there are no more nominees than there are delegates or alternates to be elected, the nominees shall be declared elected. In that event the alternates shall fill vacancies in an order determined by lot. If the number of nominees exceeds the number of delegates and alternates to be elected, an election shall be conducted under the direction of the Local Elections and Referendum Committee on a date or dates set by the Council. Candidates for either delegate or alternate with the highest number of votes shall be elected. The General Membership meeting may instruct and govern delegates.

9. In the event an at-large officer vacancy exists, the Council shall at its next regular meeting appoint a temporary officer to serve in the vacancy (except that in the event of a vacancy in the office of the President, the Vice President shall temporarily serve the remainder of the President’s term). Notice of the vacancy shall be given by the Local and the General Membership meeting following such notice shall receive nominations form the floor and proceed to fill the vacancy by secret ballot.

10. The General Membership shall elect delegates and alternates to such organizations with which the Local is affiliated that, by their charter require election. Delegates and alternates to all other labor bodies shall be appointed by the Council.

B. Unit Elections

1(a). Each unit shall receive nominations every two years at a unit meeting held not earlier than two (2) weeks prior to the first General Membership meeting of the year, for delegates to the Council, a unit chairperson, a vice-chairperson and such other offices as the unit shall create. A unit may, with permission from the Council, conduct elections with different term lengths. In the event of a contest an election by secret ballot shall be held not earlier than one (1) week and not later than three (3) weeks after the nominating meeting. The unit chairperson shall designate any unit officer to serve as alternate delegate to any meeting of the Council.

1(b). Notice of nominations and elections of unit officers and delegates and alternates to the Council shall be given to members of the unit as provided in Article V A(5) of these bylaws.

2. Vacancies in the post of unit officers or Council delegates shall be filled by nominations and secret ballot vote at the next meeting for which proper notice can be given.

3. Unit election disputes shall be settled by the Council.

C. Election Procedures

1. The Council, with advice from the Elections and Referendum Committee, shall establish a time and date for counting of the ballots from any election, and give notice thereof.

2. Upon such notice, each candidate has the right to name an observer to the ballot count and make known in advance to the Elections and Referendum Committee. Such observers shall carry out the functions enumerated below.

3. Observers shall have the following functions: To observe the actual vote count and challenge any ballots they deem illegal; to submit, in writing and notarized, any evidence of actions that the candidates they represent believe would prejudice the outcome of the election or evidence of irregularities the candidates believe should lead to the annulment of the election, followed by a rerun.

4. The burden of proof shall be on the individuals making such protests. Protests may cover actions both during the campaign and the balloting. Protests shall be submitted, in writing, citing specific bylaws of TNG-CWA and/or CWA constitution that the individual regards as being violated, to the chair of the Elections and Referendum Committee within five working days of the ballot tabulation.

5. When such protests are received, the chair of the Elections and Referendum Committee shall, with the concurrence of the committee, set a date for a formal hearing on such protests. Such date shall be no later than 30 days after the date of the election. The hearing shall include a court reporter, and the burden of proof shall be on the protesting candidate, who shall be allowed to call witnesses, under oath if necessary. The protesting candidate must appear before the committee to make the case. While the committee will make every effort to accommodate the candidate, consonant with provisions of the TNG-CWA and CWA constitutions, a candidate’s failure to appear on the date set by the committee, regardless of the reason, shall not preclude the committee from making a decision on the protest. The protesting candidate must notify the chair of the committee, in writing, no later than 15 days before the hearing, of the names of others mentioned in the protest, either as witnesses or otherwise, to allow the committee to notify those persons of their involvement, if they wish to appear and respond. No later than 15 days after the date of the hearing, the committee shall render a decision in writing, and transmit it to the protesting candidate and the Council. The protesting candidate shall then have the right to appeal the committee’s decision to the Council and beyond, consonant with provisions of the TNG-CWA and CWA constitutions.

6. Once a candidate has lodged a protest of an election, no ex parte communications about compromise settlements shall be allowed.

 

ARTICLE VI – UNITS

1. Each unit shall establish a system of shop stewards from the natural work divisions in each unit to assist the unit chairperson in organization of new members and contract enforcement under direction of the Council.

2. Units with fewer than 50 members in good standing shall, by Council certification, be combined with at-large members in good standing for purposes of representation on the Council only.

3. Each unit shall file with the Local Secretary promptly after each meeting a copy of the minutes of such meeting.

ARTICLE VII – COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

1. At least six months prior to commencement of bargaining for any Local contract, members of the unit involved shall be invited to submit written suggestions. The unit officers, in consultation with the shop stewards and designated chief negotiator, shall draw up a proposed contract. This proposal shall be submitted for approval to a unit meeting held on proper notice before submission to management. All proposals must be forwarded to TNG-CWA in compliance with its Collective Bargaining Program.

2. No negotiations shall take place in the absence of the Administrative Officer or other designated chief negotiator.

3. Any agreement reached in negotiations shall be submitted to the membership of the unit for approval. Before signing, it shall require ratification also by the Council.

4. A unit shall seek permission of the Council before conducting a vote to authorize calling a strike. No unit shall by its own action call a strike, but may by a vote of its membership authorize the Council to do so, and the Executive Council shall call no strike not authorized by a vote of the unit membership. In the event a unit is denied permission to take a strike vote, that unit may vote to request the TNG-CWA President to request authorization from the CWA Executive Board to call a strike.

5. A shop steward believing an employee to be aggrieved shall report the matter promptly to the unit chairperson or his/her designee, who shall ascertain pertinent facts. The unit chairperson shall in consultation with the unit grievance committee ascertain management’s position on the matter and shall report the matter to the Local’s professional staff representative assigned to that unit. No grievance settlement shall be binding upon the Guild unless reported to the Administrative Officer or his/her designee. The settlement of grievances shall be subject to appeal as provided in Article XIII of these bylaws.

ARTICLE VIII – DISCIPLINE

Discipline under these bylaws shall be governed by the CWA Constitution.

ARTICLE IX – DUES AND ASSESSMENTS

1. A new member shall pay an initiation fee of $3 and a former member who rejoins shall pay a reinstatement fee of $3, except as otherwise provided by the TNG-CWA constitution. The initiation fee shall not be less than the initiation fee required to be paid to TNG-CWA.

2. The highest dues rate shall be determined by the highest reporter minimum at a daily newspaper with a Local contract. It shall be arrived at by adding 35 cents for each $5.00 such top minimum exceeds $200.00.

3. Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, no regular Local monthly dues rate shall be less than the regular monthly per capita dues payment required by TNG-CWA.

4. The Local may, by a secret ballot vote of a General Membership meeting, levy an assessment of not more than $1 per member per week. Notice of the proposed assessment shall be contained in the notice of the meeting at which the action is to be taken.

5. The Local may, by a secret vote of a General Membership meeting, levy a special strike assessment of up to a day’s pay per member per week. Notice of the proposed assessment shall be contained in the notice of the meeting at which the action is to be taken.

6. A special emergency may be declared by secret ballot vote of a General Membership meeting. Notice of the proposed declaration of a special emergency shall be contained in the notice of the meeting at which such action is to be taken.

During such special emergency, each member shall pay monthly dues consisting of the sum of the appropriate dues rate in Section 2 or 3 above, plus the amount of any assessment due for such member to TNG-CWA, plus any local assessment ordered under provisions of Section 5 or Section 6 above.

7. Dues shall be payable on the first day of each month except when paid by checkoff.

ARTICLE X – PUBLICATION

1. The Local shall maintain the Guild Forum on the World Wide Web to publish official notices and other news deemed in the interest of union solidarity under the supervision of the Council or its designated representative(s). The Council may authorize additional publications to strengthen the Local’s interests in specific units or councils within the Local.

2. The Web site shall be updated as frequently as necessary by the Council or its designated representative(s). It shall be distributed to all Local members free of charge. It shall accept no advertising.

3. The local shall notify the members through the Guild Forum of General Membership meetings over any 12-month period.

4. The Web site shall include the minutes of all meetings of the Council and the General Membership and shall publish letters from members in good standing for free expression of views.

ARTICLE XI – REFERENDUM

1. Any action of prospective action of the Local may be submitted to a referendum of the membership by either a General Membership meeting, by the Council, or upon a petition signed by not fewer than fifty (50) members in good standing who include members of three or more units.

2. Provisions for the holding of a referendum shall be made by the Council and may take the form of a vote by mail or a vote in person at designated polling places or a combination of both. No ballot shall be issued to a member not in good standing, and all members shall be given (15) days’ notice in advance of any referendum.

3. Balloting shall be conducted under supervision of the Local Elections and Referendum Committee.

4. After adoption of these bylaws, no matter determined by a future referendum shall be overturned except by another referendum, unless this provision is specifically waived in the motion calling the original referendum.

5. Council or Administrative Officer’s decisions regarding staff issues, including hiring, dismissal, non-renewal of contracts and discipline, shall not be subject to membership referendum.

ARTICLE XII – AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be amended by membership referendum. A referendum shall be held upon submission of the proposed amendment by the Council, General Membership, or by a petition signed by not less than ten percent (10%) of the membership in good standing. Good standing shall be certified by the Local office. The vote shall be by secret ballot and conducted in accordance with procedures provided in Article XI.

ARTICLE XIII – INTERPRETATIONS

These bylaws shall be interpreted by the Council, subject to appeal to the General Membership or by referendum, to the TNG-CWA Sector Executive Council, or to the next Sector Conference of TNG-CWA. Questions of procedure not covered by the TNG-CWA or CWA Constitutions, Convention decision, or these bylaws shall be governed by the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order except as otherwise specified in these bylaws.

ARTICLE XIV – EFFECT

These bylaws shall take effect upon ratification by referendum held on January 8 and 9, 2002, except for elections, which effect will take place when the next scheduled elections are held.