Jan. 31, 2017 General Membership Meeting

  • Executive Director Cet Parks reported on bargaining difficulties at UFCW. Mikhail Romanov, UFCW unit chair and WBNG secretary, said that bargaining committee members have been confronting management intimidation tactics.
  • Parks reported that members at the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions will vote electronically on a nine-month extension of their three-year contract, which expires March 31. Guild members in the shop say that the extra time should result in a better bargaining position.
  • Parks reported that workers at the Advancement Project want to host a membership meeting to determine the composition of their bargaining committee. The newest WBNG unit voted 11-2 in favor of representation on Jan. 10.
  • Local Representative Paul Reilly reported that in an attempt to get its workers in Arlington to leave the union, Bloomberg-BNA management is sending “weekly emails” to Guild members reminding them that Virginia is a right-to-work state.
  • Council approved the minutes of the Small Units and At-Large Members “unit” meeting at which seven WBNG members were nominated to serve on the local’s 2017-18 Executive Council. With about 380 WBNG members, the at-large unit comprises those in Local 32035 units with less than 50 dues-paying members and about 30 union members who do not work for an employer with a WBNG contract. The “unit” is entitled to one board seat for every 50 members.
  • Council approved paying for as many as five commuters’ and two residential attendees’ participation in an early-March TNG-CWA New Local Officers Seminar at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies, in Linthicum Heights, just south of Baltimore.
  • Council approved a motion to review a written proposal to establish organizing, contract, solidarity, communications, and human rights committees. The initiative to raise member engagement will be presented at the next board meeting.
  • Parks alerted board members to an At-Large Delegate (localwide) vacancy on the WBNG Executive Council. Based on a reading of the applicable language in the local’s bylaws, council agreed that a temporary replacement will be appointed at the next board meeting (Feb. 21). Meanwhile, the membership will be notified that nominations are being sought to fill the vacancy. The nominations will be received at the next general membership meeting (April 1), at which time an election for the position will be held. 
  • Pending legal guidance and approval, council approved the local’s paying of small fees associated with enabling at-large members to pay their union dues electronically. At-large member Jazmin Gargoum (formerly of Working America) noted that, if implemented, an online payment system would be useful for collections for social events such as “Labor Night” at Nationals and D.C. United games.
  • Reilly said that more than 100 BBNA workers attended a contract fair.
  • Council discussed external organizing activities coordinated by TNG Organizing Consultant Bruce Jett.
  • The Election and Referendum Committee members were formally thanked for their service. Council members agreed to pursue discussion of the recent election-preparation issues and the prospect of online balloting next time around. Parks said that he would seek guidance on the legalities.
  • NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer swore in the officers of the 2017-2018 Executive Council.
  • The next General Membership meeting will be April 1, at the Guild’s Baltimore office, 806 N. Calvert St.