September 21, 2019 General Membership Meeting

WASHINGTON-BALTIMORE NEWS GUILD
Minutes of General Membership meeting of SEPTEMBER 21, 2019

President Steve Cook (Bloomberg Industries Group) presiding. The number of members meeting in person and on the phone did not meet the quorum of 25.

Minutes: Minutes of the July membership meeting were discussed. No action was taken.

TNG vice presidency: Sheila Lindsay, who won a four-year term in January as Region 2 vice president to TNG’s Sector Executive Council, had her membership on the SEC lapse due to the interruption in her service. Cook said he was asked by the Sector Executive Council if he would serve out the remainder of the term. As per TNG bylaws, the Sector Executive Council may make a choice, but must issue a “call for election” in case others are interested.

Baltimore Sun: Executive Director Cet Parks (at-large) said Sun unit members were prepared to vote Sept. 23 to ratify a contract extension that guarantees raises to them without the draconian takeaways previously proposed by management, and includes a me-too clause so that the Sun-owned Chesapeake Guild unit members — currently bargaining their fist contract — would get the same raise given to Sun members. Sun unit activist Amy Davis said management was trying to pit commercial vs. newsroom workers. Commercial workers felt like they had a target on their back. Solidarity efforts, including the weeklong byline strike, helped.

York Daily Record: Parks said management doesn’t want to give raises, and is proposing only takeaways. The Guild has proposed a one-year extension with a 2 percent bonus.

Real News Network: The unit ratified its first contract unanimously, and the pact was signed Sept. 17. After a management change, management took bargaining seriously. RNN member Jocelyn Dombrowski attended TNG’s New Local Officer Seminar.

Organizing: Membership from Lambda Legal after getting its first contract is at 46. Two satellite offices are in right-to-work states.

League of Conservation Voters: The unit hopes to start bargaining in October.

Center for Popular Democracy: This employer seems to be funneling money to another nonprofit working on related issues — one which WBNG is organizing.

Steward training: WNBG recently conducted steward training for its units higher up the Eastern Seaboard in conjunction with the New York local. A Baltimore-based steward training could draw members from the Sun, York, Chesapeake and Real News Network. The local-wide steward training workshop is set for Sept. 28.

Awards: A reminder was issued to RSVP for the Sept. 26 Front Page and Guild Service Awards reception and ceremony.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Pattison (Catholic News Service)
WBNG Executive Council member

September 21, 2019 Executive Council Meeting

WASHINGTON-BALTIMORE NEWS GUILD
Minutes of Executive Council meeting of SEPTEMBER 21, 2019

Present: Steve Cook (Bloomberg Industries Group), president; Elise Bryant (at-large), vice president; Justin Moyer (Washington Post), treasurer; Bryan Nelson (HPAE); Mark Pattison (Catholic News Service); Ben Soloway (Foreign Policy); Jeremy Sprinkle (North Carolina AFL-CIO); Hau Chu, Tom Jackman, Freddy Kunkle (Post); Don Griesheimer (American Nurses Association); Fatima Hussein (BIG); Tim Fitzgerald (American Postal Workers Union).

Staff: Cet Parks (executive director), Bruce Jett (organizer). The quorum of a majority was not met.

Excused: Ben Cooper 9BIG), Scott Dance (Baltimore Sun), David DeJesus (Post); Mark Gruenberg (at-large).

Executive Council member LaTisha Harvey is no longer employed by BIG.

Minutes: The July meeting minutes were reviewed. Both Kunkle and Fitzgerald said they were present during the meeting, with the record corrected to reflect that.

Financial report: The July report reflected another monthly gain, while the fiscal year to date still shows a loss. Ideas on how to protect the local’s financial health were discussed. The need for a strategy to be developed was among those ideas. Parks asked members with ideas to pass them along to Moyer.

HPAE investigation: Hussein, who had been appointed as the prosecutor in the investigation into charges levied by an HPAE member against Nelson, reported on the outcome of her investigation. She said probably cause does not exist to file charges against Nelson. She said she will consult with local attorney Bob Paul to see whether the decision is appealable.

New business: All business scheduled to be resolved during the September meeting will have to be considered for the October meeting.

The next Executive Council meeting is scheduled for WEDNESDAY, OCT. 16, at 7 P.M., at the local’s Washington officer, 1225 Eye St. NW, #300.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Pattison (CNS)

August 21, 2019 Executive Council Meeting

Washington-Baltimore News Guild
Executive Council Meeting Minutes
Date of Meeting: August 21, 2019

EC Present: Hau Chu, Steve Cook, Lillyanne Daigle, David DeJesus, Tim Fitzgerald, Ed Fortney, Dan Gabor, Don Griesheimer, Mark Gruenberg, Fatima Hussein, Freddy Kunkle, Katie Mettler, Justin Moyer, Bryan Nelson, Bill O’Meara, Mark Pattison, Jeremy Sprinkle, Michelle Wang

Excused: Elise Bryant, Sam Nelson

Staff & Guests: Rick Ehrmann, Paul Reilly, Cet Parks

Meeting called to order at 7:05 PM

I. Minutes

July 20, 2019

• Mark Pattison motioned to approve minutes and motion was seconded. Joel Gratz requested to speak on minutes reflecting possible lack of EC member quorum, and general membership members making motions at the EC meeting.

• Freddy Kunkle and Jazmin Gargoum also pointed out that names of some EC members appeared to be missing from EC roll call.

• Secretary DeJesus stated some agenda items which were part of the EC meeting packet were discussed at the General Membership meeting (Executive Director’s Report & Staff), addressing Joel Gratz’s motion procedures concern.

• After further discussion Dan Gabor makes a friendly amendment to the motion, to delay approval of minutes until revisions are made and presented at next EC meeting. Motion was seconded. Motion to defer July 20, 2019 until next EC minutes was passed.

II. Membership Report and Stats

• July 20, 2019 – August 21, 2019. Don Griesheimer motions to approve membership report and motion was seconded. Motion passes to approve July 2019 membership report.

III. Executive Director’s Report & Staff

Cet Parks

• Real News Network – requests approval of contract. Hau Chu motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion to approve Real News Network contract passes.

• SEIU 500 – requests approval of SEIU contract extension. Hua Chu motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion to approve SEIU contract passes.

• HPAE – requests approval of HPAE contract. Bill O’Meara motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion to approve HPAE contract passes.

• Baltimore Sun –Cet Parks provides update on key bargaining issues. Bill O’ Meara recommends putting through SIF request for Baltimore Sun bargaining. No action items.

• UFCW – requests discretionary authority to arbitrate Amy Ritter case. Mark Pattison motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion to arbitrate Amy Ritter case passes.

• UFCW – requests discretionary authority to arbitrate Holly Bigelow case. Don Gabor motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion to arbitrate Holly Bigelow case passes.

• UFCW – requests discretionary authority to arbitrate Telecommuting case. Hau Chu motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion to arbitrate UFCW Telecommuting case passes.

• Cet Parks provided update on upcoming Stewards Training event scheduled for September 28, 2019. Dan Gabor recommends using Action Network to assist member RSVP’s for the event, Lillyanne Daigle volunteered to assist.

Rick Ehrmann

• No action items

Paul Reilly

• Foreign Policy – requests approval of contract pending ratification by members. Mark Gruenberg motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion to approve contract contingent on ratification passes.

• Radio Free Asia – Michelle Wang, Paul Reilly, Cet Parks and Steve Cook discuss concerns regarding handling of title reclassification issue at RFA.

Eric Geist

• No action items

Bruce Jett

• No action items

IV. Financials

Summary of Financial Highlights June 19

• Cet Parks reviews legal costs associated with Radio Free Asia/Huidong Cao arbitration as requested at a prior meeting (Don Griesheimer). Don Griesheimer spoke to a need of best practices going forward when EC issues a decision on arbitration, and that decision is overridden by general membership.

• Cet Parks reviews June 2019 financial report. Mark Pattison motioned to approve June 2019 financial report, and the motion was seconded. After further discussion, the Motion to approve June 2019 financial report passes.

Bob Paul Invoices for July 2019

• No action items.

Bob Paul’s Retainer

• Justin Moyer motions to defer discussion to next council meeting, and motion was seconded. Motion to defer Bob Paul Retainer discussion to next EC meeting passes.

Extension of Bruce’s and Eric’s Contract

• Cet Park discussed contract status of Bruce Jett and Eric Geist and requests council to renew their contracts for six months. Bill O’Meara motions to approve contract extensions and the motion was seconded.

• Justin Moyer motioned a friendly amendment to accept contract extension contingent upon a freeze of future external organizing activities, due to fiscal constraints. Motion was seconded. Bill O’Meara declined acceptance of friendly amendment.

• After further discussion on this issue, Dan Gabor motioned to reclassify Bruce Jett as a bargaining unit member similar to other professional staff/full time staff member, and motion was seconded.

• Bill O’Meara declined friendly amendment to reclassify Bruce as a full time staff member, and after further discussion Bill O’Meara called the question to end debate. A vote was taken and motion to call the question passes.

• A vote was taken on Bill O’Meara motion to extend the contracts of Bruce Jett and Eric Geist. Motion to extend Jett and Geist contracts for six months passes.

• Mark Pattison proposed a substitute motion to establish a search committee to examine the financial feasibility of bringing on an organizer onto the staff, and if feasibility is demonstrated, to move forward with hiring process. The motion was seconded.

• There were further discussions regarding budgetary impact of sustaining a full time employment, and potential legal implications of continually extending contracts.

• Dan Gabor rejected all friendly amendments to his motion and called the question on reclassifying Bruce Jett.

• A roll call vote was taken Mark Pattison motion to establish a search committee to examine the financial feasibility of bringing on an organizer onto the staff, with (6) yes votes and (10) no votes. The motion was not adopted.

• A vote was taken on Dan Gabor’s motion to direct Executive Director Cet Parks to reclassify Bruce Jett as a member of the unit represented by tits collective bargaining agreement, consistent with other full time employees. A roll call vote was taken with (11) yes votes, (4) no votes and (1) abstention. The motion passes.

V. Old Business

TNG Election Re-run

• Katie Mettler spoke on TNG election re-run and presented information to assist maintaining current member addresses and contact information to encourage voter turnout. There was additional discussion on communication processes to engage unit membership.
CWA Convention/Funding our Fight for the Future

• Steve Cook gave update on key issues covered at CWA Convention.

HPAE Update

• Fatima Hussein provided update on HPAE investigation. There will be a report to the EC prior to or at the next EC meeting.

Press Associates Invoice

• After discussion Mark Pattison motions to continue payment of Press Associations invoice. Motion passes to continue payment of Press Associates invoice.

Front Page Awards Ceremony – Scheduling

• Jazmin Gargoum provided update on Front Page awards program venue and planning. Requested approval for funding event at Mindspace at cost of $3,000 to cover venue, licensing, food and beverage costs.

• Dan Gabor motions to approve proposal and motion was seconded. Dan Griesheimer discusses third party liability concern (insurance). After further discussion Freddy Kunkle calls the question to end discussion. After a vote, the motion passes to end debate.

• Motion to approve Front Page Awards Ceremony proposal passes. It was agreed that Jazmin Gargoum would look into insurance liability issues as discussed.

VI. New Business

MD State & DC AFL-CIO Convention

• Dan Gabor motions to respond to the letter to attend the MD State & DC AFL-CIO Convention and motion was seconded. Motion passes.

Organizing Committee Report

• Next organizing meeting to discuss internal vs external organizing issue and assistance with address functions will be held at a date to be determined.

Bylaws Committee Report

• No action items

Stewards Committee Notes

• Previously discussed

VII. Good & Welfare

• Black Women’s Pay Equity Day

• The Moment Was Now play

VIII. Personnel Caucus

• No action items

IX. Adjournment

• Dan Gabor motions to adjourn and motion is seconded. Motion passes and meeting is adjourned at 10:05 PM.

July 20, 2019 Executive Council Meeting

Washington-Baltimore News Guild
Executive Council Meeting Minutes
Date of Meeting: July 20, 2019, 11:39 AM

EC Present: Steve Cook, Ben Cooper, David DeJesus, Tim Fitzgerald, Ed Fortney, Dan Gabor, Don Griesheimer, Fatima Hussein, Tom Jackman, Freddy Kunkle, Katie Mettler, Justin Moyer, Sam Nelson, Bryan Nelson, Mark Pattison

Excused: Elise Bryant, Mark Gruenberg, Jeremy Sprinkle

Staff & Guests: Rick Ehrmann, Paul Reilly, Cet Parks

I. Minutes and Board Polls

June 19, 2019

• Justin Moyer motions to accept June 19, 2019 minutes, motion was seconded. Minutes of the previous meeting were approved with corrections and Motion Passes.

II. Membership Report and Stats

• June 19, 2019 – July 20, 2019. Don Griesheimer motions to approve and was seconded. Motion Passes.

III. Executive Director’s Report & Staff

• Please see July 20, 2019 General Membership Meeting Minutes, for Executive Director’s & staff report.

IV. Financials

Summary of April 19 Financial Highlights

• Cet Parks and Justin Moyer provided a general update of financial highlight. A motion was made to approve financials and was seconded. Motion Passes.
Bob Paul Invoices for May 2019

• No action items

Bob Paul Retainer

• Cet Parks and Justin Moyer provided an update on the presentation of Robert Paul retainer fee proposal. Agree to revise proposal terms relating to retainer fee (from $7.5K to $15K per month) and remove paragraph five (5) and present to Robert Paul.
Press Associates Invoice

• Justin Moyer motions to cancel annual Press Associates subscription. Motion was seconded. Further discussions followed.

• Mark Pattison suggests that the issue be deferred to the communications committee for further review. Justin Moyer withdraws his motion and motion to withdraw was seconded.

• Mark Pattison motions to defer the Press Associates subscription discussion to the Local’s Communication Committee for its consideration and recommendation. Motion was seconded. Motion Passes.

V. Old Business

Funding Our Fight for the Future

• President Cook and Cet Parks provides update on the funding issues to be discussed at CWA convention.

Front Page Awards Ceremony Scheduling

• General discussion on dates and best ways to host program. Freddy Kunkle suggests to setting up an events committee to oversee FP Awards and other events to assist in organizing.

• Steve Cook appoints Jazmin Gargoum and Peter Brusoe to report back at the next EC meeting with an action plan for FP and Guild Service Awards.

The Moment Was Now – Play

• No further discussion

Florida AFL-CIO Biennial Convention

• Justin Moyer motions to appoint Danielle Florence as a delegate to the NW Florida Federation of Labor and is seconded. Motion Passes.

VA AFL-CIO 24th Biennial State Conference

• No action required.

NC State AFL-CIO 62nd Annual Convention

• No action taken

Labor Councils

• Dan Gabor provides background and motions to allow WBNG to pay capita based on residence of members. Motion was seconded. Motion Passes.

VI. New Business

Delegate Letter to NW Florida AFL

• Sam Nelson speaks to People of Color retreat (July 23). No further action needed.
Charge Against Chapter Co-Chair and Delegates (HPAE)

• Fatima Hussein provided an update on initial steps of investigation.

VII. Good & Welfare

• No action items

VIII. Personnel Caucus

• No action items

IX. Adjournment

• Mark Pattison motions to adjourn and motion was seconded. Motion Passes and meeting is adjourned at 12:56 PM.

June 19, 2019 Executive Council Meeting

Washington-Baltimore News Guild
Executive Council Meeting Minutes
Date of Meeting: June 19, 2019, 7:06 PM

Present: Elise Bryant, Hau Chu, Steve Cook, Lillyanne Daigle, David DeJesus, Lydia Ealey, Tim Fitzgerald, Ed Fortney, Dan Gabor, Don Griesheimer, Fatima Hussein, Tom Jackman, Marissa Lang, Katie Mettler, Justin Moyer, Sam Nelson, Bryan Nelson, Bill O’Meara, Ben Soloway, Jeremy Sprinkle, Michelle Wang

Excused: Mark Gruenberg, Mark Pattison, Lila Zuzula

Staff & Guests: Ken Gude (Save Journalism), Gene Bruskin (The Moment was Now)

HPAE Guests (in support of HPAE Unit Chair): Christine Munck, Dawn Baker, Alex Kulenovic, Christian Berk, John Connelly, Kayleigh Madormo, Danielle Newsome, Marcus Presley, Aarti Patel, Patrick Gibson

I.  Minutes and Board Polls

May 15, 2019

  • Motion was made to accept and was seconded. Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as corrected.  Motion Passes.

Board Poll (June 5, 2019)

  • Sam Nelson motions to approve Board Poll to purchase a table for the Salute to Leadership Awards Dinner at cost of $1,500. Motion was seconded by Don Griesheimer.  Motion Passes.

Board Poll (May 28, 2019)

  • Sam Nelson motions to approve Board Poll to purchase a block of tickets (minimum 50 tickets) for Labor Night at Nationals Park baseball game on June 22, 2019. Motion Passes.

II.  Membership Report and Stats

  • May 15 – June 20, 2019 – Don Griesheimer motions to approve and was seconded. Cet Parks discusses new Amplify program to track membership reports.  Motion Passes.

III.  Executive Director’s Report & Staff

Cet Parks

  • Chesapeake and Tidewater units – Cet requests approval of the joint coordinated bargaining ground rules for the Chesapeake and Tidewater units. Don Griesheimer motions to accept and motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.
  • Baltimore Sun – Correction to remove Hallie Miller’s name from Sun bargaining team. Ed Fortney motions to amend last month’s report and was seconded.  Motion Passes.
  • Working America – Working America contract agreement reached and ratified by unit. Request for EC approval of contract.  Don Griesheimer motions to approve and motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.
  • UFCW – requests discretionary authority to move several grievances to arbitration. Discussion by unit chair Lori Richards and Secretary Sibyl Edwards.
  • UFCW – David Welker – UFCW manager for fostering hostile work environment against employee. Request is for arbitration approval.  Ed Fortney motions to approve arbitration and motion is seconded.  Motion Passes to approve arbitration.
  • UFCW – Abe Silk – Performing higher classification work and not getting paid for upgraded work. Requests authority to arbitrate.  Ed Fortney motions to approve authority to arbitrate and motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.

Rick Ehrman

  • Rick provided case updates. No action items.

Paul Reilly

  • FPSU (Florida SEIU Local) – Request approval of bargaining team Mike Horne, Jason Eames, Anna McLain, Megan Shade, Marisa Baylon-Guillen and Paul Reilly. Jason Moyer motions to approve and motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.
  • BBNA– request retroactive approval to arbitrate a jurisdiction case at BBNA. Sam Nelson motions to approve and motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.

Eric Geist

  • Provided case updates. No action items.

Bruce Jett

  • Cet Parks provided case updates. No action items.

IV.  Financials

April 19, 2019

  • Cet Parks provides update on April 2019 financials. Don Griesheimer motions to approve and motion was seconded. Motion Passes.  Discussion on possible inaccuracy on Shirley Cherry memo (Summary of Financial Highlights as of April 30, 2019, paragraph two (26%/71% per capita tax).  Motion Passes.

Bob Paul Invoices for May 2019

  • No action items

Bob Paul Retainer

  • Motion made by Kate Mettler and seconded to take from the table the Bob Paul retainer and fixed fee discussion from last EC Meeting (May 15). Motion Passes.
  • Justin Moyer motions to give Cet Parks discretionary authority to begin negotiations with our counsel Bob Paul about a retainer or fixed fee long-term arrangement, and the motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.
  • General discussion follows (Don Griesheimer written statement) and others speak to the issue. Bill O’Meara raises point of order on why it is necessary to have motion to address Bob Paul on the issue.  Additional discussions on speaking directly to Bob Paul.  The Chair exercised its authority to override the point of order.
  • After considerable and thoughtful debate on the issue, a roll call vote was taken. Motion Passes (10 yes votes and 7 no votes) to give Cet Parks discretionary authority to begin negotiations with local’s counsel Bob Paul about a retainer or fixed fee long-term arrangement.

V.  Old Business

Funding Our Fight for the Future

  • Bill O’Meara discusses background. Justin Moyer asks if it’s possible to meet at the upcoming CWA convention to discuss the complexities of the issue and Bill agrees to be available.

VI.  New Business

Charge Against Chapter Co-Chair and Delegate

  • Cet Parks and Steve Cook provide background briefing on the issue and TNG and CWA constitutional guidelines and procedures involved in investigating the charges. HPAE Unit members provide additional background and context on issue.
  • Don Griesheimer motions to appoint a three to seven person panel to act as a jury, as outlined in counsel Bob Paul’s letter and in accordance to CWA constitution, and the motion was seconded.
  • After further discussion Don motioned to call the question to end debate. Motion was seconded.  A roll call vote was taken (14 yes votes, 1 abstention).  Motion Passes.
  • Motion Passes to retain a three to seven person panel to act as a jury on the charges.
  • Executive Council members Don Griesheimer, Katie Mettler, Sam Nelson, Joel Gratz volunteer to serve on the panel. Fatima Hussein volunteered to serve as prosecutor.  Hau Chu motions to nominate persons listed above to jury panel and prosecutor, and the motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.
  • EC recognized HPAE members who participated in discussion.

The Save Journalism Project

  • Ken Gude reports on the Save Journalism project which is addressing employment threats journalists face from big tech companies, by raising awareness and building allies within the journalism community. The ask is to have WBNG sign on as a supporter of the initiative.

The Moment Was Now

  • Gene Bruskin reports on new musical “The Moment Was Now, which will premiere September 13-15, 2019 in Baltimore (Baltimore Emmanuel Episcopal Church). The ask is to support the musical through ticket purchases.  Agreed to revisit participation at next general membership meeting in July.

VA AFL-CIO 24th Biennial Convention

  • No action needed.

NC State AFL-CIO 62nd Annual Convention

  • Motion made by Sam Nelson to send Jeremy Sprinkle to NC State AFL-CIO conference September 19-20, 2019, and the Local will be responsible for paying his $100 registration fee. Motion was seconded.  Motion Passes.

Florida AFL-CIO Biennial Convention

  • Motion made by Jeremy Sprinkle to send one person on Florida AFL-CIO staff to attend the Florida AFL-CIO conference September 7-8, 2019, if accepted by a staff member. Motion was seconded.  The Local will be responsible for paying the $150 registration fee.  Motion Passes.

Presidents Report

  • Steve Cook reports on WBNG efforts to obtain financial support through SIF grant from The News Guild/CWA for organizing which resulted in the assignment of CWA organizer, Jim Santos to assist with organizing efforts at The Post and BBNA. TNG also committed to supporting the work of Eric Geist.

Bylaws Committee Report

  • Sam Nelson submitted a detailed report as a part of the June 19, 2019 EC meeting packet.

Steward’s Committee Report

  • Elise Bryant reports on Steward’s Committee plan to hold a steward training event at WBNG DC office (tentative) on Saturday, September 28, 2019 from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Communications Committee

  • Lillyanne Daigle reports on Communications Committee efforts on creating guidelines to streamline emails to the full Executive Council, and to send out biweekly or bimonthly updates to the unit to assist in managing emails to board from the Local, and to create a Slack channel for the Local.

Organizing Committee

  • Katie Mettler reports on committee members (Katie and Fatima) participation in attending AFL-CIO Organizing Institute training event in Pittsburgh. Reported that training was externally focused (organizing new shops) and recommends participation in training programs with a focus on internal organizing would better serve our needs.

VII.  Good & Welfare

  • No action items

VIII.  Personnel Caucus

  • No action items

IX.  Adjournment

  • Don Griesheimer motions to adjourn and motion was seconded. Motion Passes and meeting is adjourned at 10:20 PM.