Bylaws

AS AMENDED AUG. 21, 2020

The Washington-Baltimore News Guild (hereinafter called the Local) shall be governed by the Constitutions of The NewsGuild-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, referenda and General Membership meetings.

  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 an 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 four times a year (March, June, September, December). Regular and special meetings of the General Membership shall be held at the WBNG office in Washington. By vote of the Council at least 30 days prior to a General Membership meeting the Council may designate another location for a General Membership meeting. The WBNG shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that all Executive Council and General Membership meetings are accessible to all members via teleconference. During times of national or regional emergency or crisis the Executive Council and General Membership may meet exclusively by teleconference.

  3. The Secretary shall give no less than 30 days’ notice via mail and electronic communications to the membership in advance of every regular General Membership meeting. Notice shall be given by mail and electronic means to include email, social media and the WBNG website. In units that by contract are entitled to use bulletin boards, notice may be posted.

    The Council may call a Special General Membership meeting on two days’ notice. Notice of a Special General Membership meeting called less than 15 days in advance shall be given by electronic means to include email, social media and the WBNG website. In addition, in units that 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. Unit chairs shall take extra efforts to ensure all members are notified of Special General Membership meetings. This paragraph shall also apply to Special General Membership meetings called as a result of written petition of the members (Article IV.4).

  1. Appeals of decisions and actions of the Council may be made to the General Membership. Any actions, motions or decisions of the Council, including approval or denial of arbitration, may be appealed and reviewed by the General Membership upon a notice of such appeal or review signed by at least 50 members in good standing with no more than 15 signatures from any single unit and shall be submitted to the Secretary at least seven days in advance of the distribution of the agenda of the General Membership 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 appeal or review on the agenda of the General Membership meeting.

    Any vote, decision, action or issue decided by the Council or the Membership made more than 18 months prior shall not be subject to the appeal and review provisions of this section and shall be considered by regular motion within either body.

  1. A quorum at any General Membership meeting shall be 25 members in good standing.

  2. WBNG Members shall be entitled to receive all meeting agendas for both General Membership and Council meetings at the same time agendas are available and distributed to Council members. Members may make either one-time or standing requests to receive agendas.

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

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

  5. Individuals who are not in a collective bargaining unit and who do not manage Guild members may apply for membership pursuant to the TNG-CWA Constitution, Article II, Sections 2 and 3, and will have “unaffiliated membership.” Unaffiliated members will retain voting rights in WBNG local elections and may serve on the WBNG Executive Council, but unaffiliated members who are freelancers may not vote on local union issues affecting collective bargaining, including contract ratifications, grievance settlements and strike votes. The dues for all unaffiliated members shall be at least $5 above the TNG per capita rate.

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.
  2. The Vice President shall perform the duties of the President during the absence or 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 keep all records of the Local except fiscal records, conduct correspondence as directed by the Council and the Local, and keep accurate minutes of all Council and General Membership meetings.
  5. The Executive Director shall be the principal paid employee of the Local, under the immediate supervision of the elected officers. They shall:
    a. Not be a member of the Council.
    b. Plan, shape and direct the organizing and bargaining program of the Local under the supervision of the Council.
    c. Oversee negotiations 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 their responsibilities and the affairs of the Local.
  6. No TNG-CWA officer or employee, and no WBNG Executive Council member, shall be a paid employee of the Local. 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 and staff 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 25 members: four officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary) and 21 at-large council members. No more than four members of the Council may come from any one unit (excluding officers). They will be the top four vote recipients from each unit. Three seats will be reserved for members from Small Units (Article VI.2) and/or Unaffiliated Members (Article II.9). This will be the top three vote-getters from the combined Small Units/Unaffiliated Members group.

  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, email 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, email 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 two officers without whose signature, in addition to that of the Treasurer, no checks shall be valid.
    b. Have general supervision of all Local officers.
    c. Report the financial condition of the Local to the General Membership at least quarterly, citing the balance in each of the operating, reserve and severance funds, operating income and expenses for the period since the last report.
    d. Fulfill other functions assigned to it by these bylaws or by the TNG-CWA or CWA Constitutions.
    e. Call special General Membership meetings within eight days of receipt of a written request of 100 members in good standing from at least five different units for the purpose of taking action stated in the request.
    f. Make recommendations to the General Membership with respect to any matter that affects the Local or any unit thereof.
    g. Set the pay of, employ, dismiss and supervise the activities of the Executive Director/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.3.

  5. If an Executive Council member misses three meetings without notice or eight with notice in a term, the Council will vote on removal of the member and filling of the vacancy in accordance with Article V.9.

ARTICLE V – ELECTIONS

  1. Election of Officers, At-Large Council members, TNG-CWA Sector Conference Delegates and Alternates, CWA Convention Delegates and Alternates and Delegates and Alternates to Labor Bodies.

    a. The officers and at-large council members of the Local shall be elected every two years by secret ballot. They shall take office on Jan. 1 and hold office until Jan. 1 two years later.

    b. Nomination for officers and at-large members of the Council shall be received from the floor at the September General Membership meeting of the election year. The council will not accept any nominations at the meeting that are not seconded. Nominations may also be received by petition of a minimum of 50 members in good standing from at least three units of the Local who shall file their petition with the Secretary no later than 15 days after the floor nominations have been officially reported to the membership. No less than two weeks before nominations at the September General Membership meeting, all members will be notified by mail and email of the nomination window. In the event that, following the petition period, there is no contest for an office, the Elections and Referendum Committee shall declare the nominee for that office elected.

    c. If a nominee is not present at the September meeting and does not indicate in writing their willingness to accept a nomination, the Secretary shall inform them of the nomination in writing within three days. The member shall accept in writing within seven days or else be disqualified.

    d. A Local Elections and Referendum Committee (ERC) shall be appointed by the Executive Council at the January General Membership meeting after the new Council takes office. The ERC shall consist of three members. Neither Council members nor candidates may serve on the ERC. Any vacancy on the ERC shall be filled by the Executive Council at the next EC meeting after the vacancy occurs. A vacancy shall automatically occur whenever an ERC member is nominated to the Council or becomes a member of the EC.

    e. Balloting shall be as provided in Article V.3 and V.4 of these bylaws. Each member shall be notified by mail  at the home 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 November membership meeting.

    f. If there is only one candidate for an office, they shall be declared elected without balloting. If there are two or more candidates, a plurality of those voting shall be required to elect. In the event of a tie vote for an office there shall be a runoff election. Such runoff election will take place no later than 60 days following the date of the official ballot count as provided in Article V.4. The winner of the runoff shall assume office immediately upon certification of the results. Until a successor is elected, the incumbent shall continue in office.

    g. Each candidate shall be given an equal opportunity to publication by the Local of statements whose length may be dictated by the Council after consultation with the candidates.

    h. Delegates and alternates to regular TNG-CWA Sector Conferences and CWA Conventions shall be nominated separately from the floor at the December General Membership meeting, which shall also determine the number elected. If there are no more nominees than there are delegates or alternates to be elected, the nominees shall be declared elected, and 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, a secret ballot election shall be conducted under the direction of the Elections and Referendum Committee on a date set by the Council. Candidates for delegate or alternate with the highest number of votes shall be elected. The General Membership may instruct and govern delegates.

    i. In the event a Council vacancy exists, the Council shall notify the membership at least 15 days before its next regular meeting, where the Council will take nominations for a temporary officer to serve in the vacancy. If the nomination is contested, the nominees should be presented to members of the Executive Council for election by secret ballot. Notice of the vacancy shall be given by the Local, and the General Membership meeting following such notice shall receive nominations from the floor and proceed to fill the vacancy by secret ballot.

    j. 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.

  2. Unit Elections
    a. Each unit shall receive nominations every two years, at a unit meeting held not earlier than two weeks prior to the first General Membership meeting of the year, 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 week and not later than three weeks after the nominating meeting. The unit chairperson shall designate any unit officer to serve as alternate delegate to any meeting of the Council.

    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.1.e of these bylaws.

    c. 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.

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

  3. Election Procedures
    a. The Council, with advice from the Elections and Referendum Committee, shall establish a time and date for counting of the ballots for any election, and give notice thereof by mail and electronic means.

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

    c. Observers shall have the following functions: to observe the actual vote count and challenge any ballots they deem illegal; to submit, in writing, a sworn statement of 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.

    d. 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 provisions in Local bylaws, The TNG-CWA Constitution, or the CWA Constitution, or applicable law that the individual regards as being violated, to the chair of the Elections and Referendum Committee within five working days of the ballot tabulation.

    e. 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.

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

  4. Referendum
    a. Any action or 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 100 members in good standing, including members of five or more units.

    b. 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.

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

    d. 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.

    e. Council or Executive Director decisions regarding staff issues, including hiring, dismissal, nonrenewal of contracts and discipline, shall not be subject to membership referendum.

 

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 the 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 designated “Small Units” and combined with Unaffiliated 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 a meeting.

ARTICLE VII – COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

  1. Between 60 and 90 days 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 contract proposal. 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 Executive Director/Administrative Officer or other designated chief negotiator.
  3. Any agreement reached in negotiations shall be submitted to the General Membership of the unit for approval. Before signing, it shall require ratification also by the Council.
  4. A unit shall notify 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. The Council shall not call a strike unless authorized by a vote of the unit membership. Units may appeal to the TNG-CWA Executive Council to request authorization from the CWA Executive Board to call a strike if the Executive Council does not.
  5. A shop steward believing a contract violation has occurred shall report the matter promptly to the unit chairperson or their 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 Executive Director/Administrative Officer or their designee. The settlement of grievances shall be subject to appeal as provided in Article XIII of these bylaws.

ARTICLE VIII – DISCIPLINE

  1. 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. 
  2. The highest dues rate shall in accordance to TNG Constitution Article XVIII Section 2 and no less than of 1.44 percent of a member’s weekly salary in bargaining units.
  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 $5 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. Dues shall be payable on the first day of each month except when paid by checkoff.
  7. The Local dues rates may be altered only through a referendum as set forth in Article V of these Bylaws.

ARTICLE X – PUBLICATION

  1. The Local’s website shall be updated as frequently as necessary by the Council or its designated representative(s). It shall accept no advertising.
  2. Annually, the EC shall notify the members of the schedule of GM meetings for the upcoming 12-month period.
  3. The website 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.
  4. The Council has authority to authorize any additional publications for the Local.

ARTICLE XI – 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  10 percent 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 V.4.

ARTICLE XII – 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 or Sector Conference 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 XIII – EFFECT

These bylaws shall take effect upon ratification by referendum held July-August 2020. Officers elected under these bylaws in November 2020 will begin serving their new terms on Feb. 1, 2021, and serve until Jan. 1, 2022, when candidates elected in November 2021 will take office.