Oct. 18, 2016 Executive Council Meeting

  • Council approved the recently ratified Local 500 SEIU contract. The three-year agreement covering 16 workers will expire June 30, 2019.
  • Council granted advance approval to a Solidarity Center collective bargaining agreement, which is soon to be presented to the unit members. The tentative contract covers 22 employees; it would expire Sept. 25, 2019.
  • Discretionary authority was approved to file Unfair Labor Practice charges against Change to Win.
  • Council approved a Jobs with Justice bargaining team of Ada Fuentes, Ethan Miller, Ben Woods, and Local Representative Paul Reilly. A contract covering 14 employees at JwJ expires Dec. 31.
  • Council approved a FP Group (ForeignPolicy.com) bargaining team of Dan De Luce, Elias Groll, Molly O’Toole, Ben Soloway, Reid Standish, and Paul Reilly. Talks will soon be under way over a first Guild contract that will cover about 20 employees.
  • Council granted retroactive approval for a UFCW bargaining committee: Evan Yeats, Lydia Ealey, Sara Gann, Brian O’Konski, Mikhail Romanov, Basav Sen, Alan Troyan, and Executive Director Cet Parks. The Guild contract at UFCW headquarters covers 64 workers; it expired Oct. 6, but remains in force.
  • Local Representative Rick Ehrmann reviewed efforts to win a first contract at the Center for Popular Democracy. The unit bargaining team has been holding online and phone conferences with management. Ehrmann said that many of the unit’s widely scattered three dozen members will converge in New York in November.
  • Ehrmann reported that he will travel to the Research Triangle in North Carolina to meet with Guild members at the state AFL-CIO, where a contract covering two employees expires Oct. 31.
  • Reilly reviewed developments at Change to Win, where the consensus among 17 Guild members is that retaliation for their “union activities” appears to be part of an attempt to sabotage the unit. CtW is the headquarters of a labor federation not affiliated with the AFL-CIO. It comprises three labor unions: International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, and the 5,000-member United Farm Workers. [links to archived stories would be helpful] 
  • Council granted discretionary authority to Parks regarding whether to maintain the local’s investment in a mutual fund. That fund has performed poorly in the eight years since the Guild invested in it.
  • Council reviewed legal expenses related to Guild members employed at the AFL-CIO who have been working out of the federation’s Pennsylvania headquarters. There has been tension between the federation and TNG-CWA over disciplinary action related to the use of social media.
  • Local 32035 President Sheila Lindsay gave a report on the recent News Guild-CWA sector conference. Organizing efforts and bargaining activities at media giants Gannett and Digital First Media were discussed. Gannett is reportedly pursuing a purchase of Tribune Publishing, which owns the WBNG-represented Baltimore Sun. TNG-CWA representatives also were presented with an outline of Strategic Industry Funds; applicants are asked to submit summaries rather than extensive proposals for organizing open shops and non-profits. Lindsay noted that this is a good opportunity for the local.
  • TNG-CWA will host a seminar for new local officers. The seminar will be March 3-6, 2017, at the Maritime Institute near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
  • Board member Chris Stergalas (Working America) gave an update on the Communications Committee and reviewed the project to launch a redesigned wbng.org. He showed how the design allows units to update their own pages on the website, and could provide a way for the local’s approximately two dozen at-large members to pay their $30 monthly dues online. Members will be able to sign up for the local’s email list.
  • The next council meeting was set for Nov. 5 in the Washington office.