State of the Union, October 2017

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With the ratification of a tentative agreement at The American Prospect expected to take place shortly and the signing of a first contract at the FP Group, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild will have in place 32 collective bargaining agreements with 31 employers.

Only two of these WBNG units are working under expired contracts, with Guild-covered workers at the Washington Post seeing their contract lapse June 10. Nearly 900 editorial and commercial employees are covered by that agreement.

The initial Guild contract at In These Times/Institute for Public Affairs expired Sept. 13. The three-year agreement covers four employees; the bargaining team is Miles Kampf-Lassin (unit chair), Sarah Lazare, and Local Representative Rick Ehrmann. Bargaining is set for Nov. 2-3 in Chicago.  

Needing agreements to be officially added to the WBNG roster are five other recently organized bargaining units. Negotiations are under way over an initial contract with the Advancement Project, a Washington-based nonprofit at which a 15-member Guild shop was organized in January.

Local 32035 will begin negotiations later this fall with Raw Story Media, a progressive news organization that received voluntary recognition as a Guild shop in July. The union bargaining team for the 10-person unit of online journalists consists of David Ferguson, Elizabeth Preza, Noor Sibai, and Local Representative Paul Reilly.

The Guild also is set to begin talks with The Real News Network, a Baltimore-based progressive news organization known as TRNN at which a unit comprising 15 journalists, fundraisers, and studio and IT employees was organized in July. The Guild bargaining committee consists of Jocelyn Dombroski (unit chair), Cameron Granadino, Eze Jackson, Kayla Rivara, and Uruj Sheikh. Executive Director Cet Parks is serving as the WBNG representative at the table.

Preparing their initial Guild contract proposals are the Democratic Socialists of America and M+R Strategic Services.

Staffers at DSA’s offices in Washington and New York received voluntary recognition in July as a Guild shop consisting of five workers. The bargaining committee is unit co-chairs Ryan Mosgrove and Eileen Casterline, and WBNG rep Ehrmann.

Ehrmann also is the union staff rep at the bargaining table with M+R, the local’s newest unit, which comprises nearly 90 employees of a communications firm that specializes in work for nonprofit organizations. In addition to its office in Washington, is in New York City, Oakland (Calif.), Los Angeles, and Boston.

State of the Union

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With the announcements that staff at Raw Story Media, The Real News Network, and the Democratic Socialists of America all have received voluntary recognition of the Guild as their exclusive bargaining representative, the WBNG roster now shows 36 individual shops.   

Local 32035 is in negotiations over initial contracts with:

  • The Advancement Project, a Washington-based nonprofit at which a 15-member Guild shop was organized in January.
  • The American Prospect, a publication that appears four times a year in print and offers daily news coverage and commentary at prospect.org. The 8-member Guild bargaining unit was voluntarily recognized by management in April and began bargaining in June. 

A local union that has represented journalists for more than 80 years, WBNG has 30 collective bargaining agreements in place with 29 employers. The Washington Post unit is the only Local 32035 shop currently in negotiations over an expired contract.

An agreement covering more than 850 Guild-covered employees at the Post expired June 10.

American Prospect Grants Voluntary Recognition to WBNG

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In a letter from the publisher and its top editors, The American Prospect management announced that it is voluntarily recognizing the Washington-Baltimore News Guild as the exclusive bargaining agent for magazine staff.
According to WBNG Local Representative Paul Reilly, the Guild unit will have eight members. The staffers had advised management of their filing for a union-representation vote, and the management response means that bargaining over wages, hours, and conditions of work can begin.

“There is no need for NLRB or third-party verification,” wrote TAP board chairman Mike Stern in a letter co-signed by the nonprofit’s top editors. “We would like to set up a first meeting with your representative(s) to work out an arrangement regarding the process for entering into a procedural agreement.”
Among the co-signers was Robert Kuttner, one of the publication’s founders in 1990. The Washington-based Prospect is “dedicated to American liberalism and progressivism.”

The publication appears four times a year in print and digital editions, while the organization’s website, prospect.org, offers daily news coverage and commentary.

TNG Local 32035 now has 33 shops. The FP Group/ForeignPolicy.com (20 Guild members), and The Advancement Project (15 WBNG members) are also in talks over initial Guild collective bargaining agreements. 

Staff at The American Prospect File for Union Election

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Today, staff at The American Prospect, filed for a union representation vote with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

The Prospect has been a strong, independent and progressive source of journalism for more than 25 years. Making a move to form a union with the Guild will allow all staff at the Prospect to carry out its mission: to advance liberal and progressive goals through reporting, analysis and debate about today’s realities and tomorrow’s possibilities.

Following the election of President Donald Trump, staff at the Prospect believe it is more important than ever to live our progressive ideals, especially at work. Staff are now seeking voluntary recognition from Prospect management, and hope to make the Prospect a better, stronger place to work each day.

See the letter delivered to management today, here.