September 26, 2020 General Membership Meeting

Washington-Baltimore News Guild

General Membership Meeting Minutes

Date of Meeting: September 26, 2020

Present: Elise Bryant, Peter Brusoe, Carl Charles, Steve Cook, David DeJesus, Tim Fitzgerald, Ed Fortney, Jazmin Gargoum, Joel Gratz, Don Griesheimer, Mark Gruenberg, Fatima Hussein, Tom Jackman, Katie Mettler, Justin Moyer, Sam Nelson, Bill O’Meara, Mark Pattison, Jeremy Sprinkle, Michelle Wang

Excused: Marissa Lang, Scott Reynolds

Staff & Guests: Rick Ehrmann, Bruce Jett, Cet Parks, Paul Reilly, Caitlin Wilson (AFP), Dina Kastner (NASW)

Meeting called to order at 10:00 AM and a quorum was met.

I.  Minutes

July 18, 2020 – Peter Brusoe motioned to approve and was seconded by Mark Pattison. Motion Passed.

September 3, 2020 Special Membership Meeting – Elise Bryant motioned to approve and seconded by Tim Fitzgerald. Motion Passed.

II.  Membership Report (from EC Report)

August 19, 2020 – September 25, 2020. on Griesheimer motioned to approve and seconded Peter Brusoe. Motion Passed.

III.  Officer’s Report

President Steve Cook – Gave update on Pittsburgh Gazette unit preparations to strike. TNG proceeding with Save The News Campaign. Additional discussion on sexual harassment/allegations and how they are handled within labor unions.

Vice President Elise Brant – None

IV.  New Business

Nomination of E&R Committee

Fatima Hussein nominates Tammy Madison (Bloomberg), Mallory Brangan (Post), Nena Taub (Lambda Legal). Joel Gratz nominate Luke Canfora.

According to bylaws there can only be three members appointed to serve on the ERC, by the Executive Council. President Steve Cook deferred the ERC appointments until the next EC meeting.

Nominations of Officers

Nominations were made for officers and Executive Council. President Steve Cook nominates for officer’s Fatima Hussein (President), Katie Mettler (VP), Dave DeJesus (Secretary), Justin Moyer (Treasurer). There were no other nominations for President, Vice President and Secretary. President Cook announces petition period for additional nominations for those not in attendance during the General Membership meeting.

Isaac Gobern nominates Joel Gratz (AFL-CIO) for Treasury.

Nominations for Executive Council Delegates

Fatima Hussein nominates Peter Brusoe (Bloomberg), Sarah Adkisson (Bloomberg), Jason Albright (Bloomberg), Marissa Lang (Post), Tom Jackman (Post), Hau Chu (Post), Freddy Kunkle (Post), Joe Yearadi (CPI), Pratheek Rebala (CPI), Sam Nelson (JwJ), Carl Charles (Lambda Legal), Michelle Wang (RFA), Nina Goldman (FP), Mark Pattison (CNS), Lily Reed (Sun), Dan Gabor (AFL-CIO), Graham Fortier (AFL-CIO), Steve Cook (Unaffiliated), Elise Bryant (Unaffiliated), Jeremy Sprinkle (AFL-CIO NC).

Kent Anderson (LCV) nominates Emily Woodall (LCV) and Sacha Heyman (LCV).

Joel Gratz nominates Grace Sheedy (AFL-CIO) and Isaac Gobern (AFL-CIO)

Maya Goins nominates Joel Gratz (AFL-CIO).

Don Griesheimer (ANA) nominates himself.

Mark Gruenberg nominates Jazmin Gargoum (Unaffiliated).

Caroline Reed nominates Indigo Oliver (ITT).

Nominees Accepting (At GM Meeting)

Fatima Hussein, Katie Mettler, David DeJesus, Justin Moyer, Tom Jackman, Peter Brusoe, Sarah Adkisson, Jason Albright, Joe Yearadi, Pratheek Rebala, Sam Nelson, Carl Charles, Michelle Wang, Mark Pattison, Lily Reed, Dan Gabor, Graham Fortier, Steve Cook, Steve Cook, Elise Bryant, Jeremy Sprinkle, Jazmin Gargoum, Isaac Gobern, Grace Sheedy, Emily Woodall, Sacha Heyman, Indigo Oliver, Don Griesheimer.

Joel Gratz defers accepting and will confirm during portioning period for either Treasure or Delegate slot.

V.  Old Business

None

VI.  Executive Director & Staff Reports (from EC Report)

Cet Parks

FL AFL-CIO – Cet Parks requested discretionary authority to arbitrate or file a ULP regarding the Mike Stovall termination, for improperly seeking out Covid-19 test before returning to work. Peter Brusoe motioned to approve request for arbitration, seconded by Peter Brusoe. Motion Passed.

The State – TNG – Cet Parks requested discretionary authority to organize The State newspaper in Columbia, SC (a McClatchy Publication) with 37 employees. The State is a sister publication to The Island Packet News in SC which is also seeking recognition to organize. Mark Gruenberg motioned to approve the request to organize The State, seconded by Peter Brusoe. After further discussion (Joel Gratz TNG funding cuts) the Motion Passed.

Verso – Cet Parks requested retroactive authority to organize Verso, a book publishing company headquartered in London and with offices in Brooklyn, NY. Jeremy Sprinkle motioned to approve, and the motion was seconded by Peter Brusoe. After further discussion (Bill O’Meara, Peter Brusoe, Don Griesheimer concerns on unit size and NY location, Mark Gruenberg on bargaining logistics/UK parent). The Motion Passed.

MassLive – [Redacted]. Peter Brusoe motioned to approve, and the motion was seconded by Mark Gruenberg. After further discussion the Motion Passed.

Rick Ehrmann

In These Times – Rick Ehrmann requests approval of bargaining committee members Jamie Hendry, Hamilton Nolan and Miles Lawson. Don Griesheimer motioned to approve and seconded by Bill O’ Meara. Motion Passed.

NASW – Dina Kastner is asking for council approval to repurpose its approved $200 monthly luncheon budget for membership meetings which is going unused due to Covid-19. The unit wants to donate the funds to the Capital Area Food Bank. The amount to date is $1,200 (6 months).

Mark Pattison motioned to approve the NASW $1,200 donation, representing six months of unused lunches, to the Capital area Food Bank. The motion was seconded by Jeremy Sprinkle. Mark Gruenberg offered a friendly amendment to continue the monthly donations for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, which was accepted by Mark Pattison and Dina Kastner. After further discussions, Mark Gruenberg withdraws his friendly amendment. After a roll call vote the Motion Failed.

Paul Reilly

American Prospect – Paul Reilly requested approval of JWJ bargaining team Alex Sammon, Marcia Brown and Brittany Gibson. Jeremy Sprinkle motioned to approve and seconded by Bill O’Meara. Motion Passed.

Eric Geist

No action items.

Bruce Jett

Broward County Legal Services (Miami, FL) – [Redacted]. Peter Brusoe motioned to approve the organizing effort, seconded by Carl Charles. After further discussion the motion was voted on and the Motion Passed.

VII.  Financials

Credit Card Expenses

Peter Brusoe motions to approve financials, seconded by Elise Bryant. Luke Canfora (AFL-CIO) believes it is bad practice to approve credit card expenses without everyone having opportunity to review. Cet explains that information is usually provided for members to view and not to approve. Maya Goins states its good practice to review and not to approve.

Cet Parks clarifies that credit card expenses are generally in the financial reports and will be considered in EC Meeting.

VIII.  Good & Welfare

Joel Gratz – discusses Surreta Smith, candidate for state legislator in GA – asks how can we do more substantive actions which are supportive to her campaign.

Front Page Awards – Peter Brusoe updates on FP Awards – will be held remotely on October 8, 2020 from 7 PM-9 PM, hosted by Katie Mettler and Fatima Hussein.

Joel Brooks (HPAE) – question on vacancy for one of unit co-chairs and process on how to fill that seat. Cet Parks explains process – all officers subject to election in January; Steve and Cet to discuss process with Joel after this meeting.

Isaac Gobern – speaks to Joel Gratz’s support on Surreta Smith – phone banking and contributions.

Mark Gruenberg – speaks to ways to support Surreta Smith. Mark’s news service included a story about Surreta Smith. Several ways to help her out (AFL-CIO), AFGE local 1017 president for eight years, or go to her campaign website.

Luke Canfora – requested additional information on Green Zone policies – additional explanation provided by President Steve Cook (actions regarding local’s endorsement of political candidates). Cet provided additional info on purpose of Green Zone policy.

Carl Charles – comments by Isaac Gobern and Joel Gratz represents an opportunity for units that are not journalism based to take action and collaborate on ways to support agendas and issues in units not obliged by Green Zone policy.

Maya Goins– shares perspective on Green Zone and support for Black female union sibling Surreta Smith. Alfonso Novadi – odd that we have handcuffed ourselves as a union in terms of endorsements when newspapers where our members work have no problems making endorsements. If media organizations we work for have found a way to cover political candidates and endorsements that is above criticism, then guild should be able to do so.

Fatima Hussein – feels there are things the local can do to address systemic racism, and other similar issues, there is opportunity to meet in the middle to address issues that will not allow us to talk about things because of objectivity.

President Steve Cook suggests that all parties interested in this issue convene per Carl Charles suggestion, to identify issues and how to address them.

IX.  Adjournment

Jazmin Gargoum motioned to adjourn and seconded by Peter Brusoe. Meeting adjourned at 11:44 AM.