President’s Notebook: Activism, new units dominate WBNG’s Nov. EC Meeting


The executive council of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild on Tuesday, Nov. 7, voiced unanimous support for members to volunteer on a number of issues, from communications, bargaining, finance and organizing to strategic planning and civil and human rights. 

ACTION: The WBNG is planning a major informational picket, featuring the CRUSH FUNK BRASS BAND, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in front of the Washington Post, 1301 K Street NW. If possible, please attend. 
If you want to volunteer on any of the above committees or help turn out folks to the Nov. 14 event, please email WBNG office manager Nancy Banks at or me, WBNG president Robert Struckman, at

The well-attended meeting included about two dozen people at the downtown union office at 1225 Eye Street, Suite 300, as well as another six on the phone. 
The council heard from members of two recently organized units. Jocelyn Dombroski represented the Real News Network in Baltimore, which will soon begin bargaining, and Carolyn Steptoe spoke about the difficult process of bargaining a first contract at the Advancement Project in Washington. 
The council gave our union’s executive director Cet Parks discretionary authority to file an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor if managers of the Advancement Project continue what new members at the civil rights nonprofit believe are wrongful changes to working conditions there. 
Federal rules don’t allow employers to make just any new rules after workers vote to form a union but before a new contract has been negotiated and ratified. For more information on ULPs, follow this link
The full meeting minutes of the Nov. 7 executive council of the WBNG will be posted after approval at next month’s meetings. 
In solidarity,
Robert Struckman, president
Washington-Baltimore News Guild

President’s Notebook: With a contentious election behind us, union activism can unite and build our union


With a contentious election behind us, union activism can unite and build our union.

Unity and activism are in the air at the Washington-Baltimore News Guild. We need it. Last month’s election was rough on all of us, but we’re moving forward.

Our unit at the Washington Post is in a tough fight with one of the richest men in the world, a billionaire who wants to downgrade the professional quality of one of America’s flagship newspapers by taking away job security and making a secure retirement almost impossible.

Jones Day, the high-powered law firm doing the dirty work on behalf of Jeff Bezos at the Post, is the same one Michael Bloomberg uses to push around our members at Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs. And our brothers and sisters at the Baltimore Sun have been fighting a culture of corporate greed that has left them without a cross-the-board raise in years.

Elsewhere in the local, we have already begun conversations about how to use our collective voice as union staffers and progressive workers to advocate for our professions. No other union local I can find represents as many nonprofit and union workers across the United States and around the world.
It’s time for member-led activism as we lay out our local’s short, medium and long term goals and strategize about how to get there.
How can we organize, protect and advance careers in media within a shifting landscape of ruthless corporate bosses? How do we improve the lives of workers in advocacy in today’s hard climate?
The answers aren’t easy, but we can find them by making it easy for every member to get involved, to attend meetings in person or by phone, to serve on committees or to be active any way you want. Meeting minutes will soon be available to every member, as our bylaws say they must. More on remote accessibility by video and conference calls to come.
I can’t think of a time when professionals in the fields of advocacy and media had more at stake. Let’s the meet the challenge head-on, united and ready to win better contracts for each other!
If you’re interested in serving on a committee to direct the local’s work in bargaining, organizing, human rights or another area, we need your leadership! If you’re a leader in our union, or if you have ideas/questions/thoughts or whatever, please call or email: or 202 412 1918.
In solidarity,
Robert Struckman, president
WBNG Local 32035, CWA, AFL-CIO