April 21, 2021 – Executive Council Meeting

Minutes of Executive Council meeting of APRIL 21, 2021

Present: Fatima Hussein (Bloomberg), president; Katie Mettler (Washington Post), vice president; Justin Moyer (Post), treasurer; Sarah Adkisson, Bloomberg; Jason Albright, Bloomberg; Peter Brusoe, Bloomberg; Elise Bryant, unaffiliated; Hau Chu, Post; Dan Gabor, AFL-CIO; Nina Goldman, Foreign Policy; Tom Jackman, Post; Marissa Lang, Post; Sam Nelson, Jobs With Justice; Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service; Pratheek Rebala, Center for Public Integrity; Lillian Reed, Baltimore Sun; Grace Sheedy, AFL-CIO; Jeremy Sprinkle, North Carolina State AFL-CIO; Michelle Wang, Radio Free Asia; Emily Woodall, League of Conservation Voters; Joe Yerardi, Center for Public Integrity. Staff: Cet Parks, executive director; Paul Reilly, Evan Yeats, local representatives. Non-Executive Council members: Kerri Barber, unaffiliated; Donna Cartwright, unaffiliated; Jazmin Gargoum, unaffiliated; Joel Gratz, AFL-CIO; Don Griesheimer, American Nurses Association; Jeremiah Tattersall, Florida AFL-CIO.

Excused: David DeJesus, secretary (Post); Carl Charles, Lambda Legal; Graham Fortier, Steve Cook, ex-officio; Bruce Jett and Eric Geist, staff.

Absent: Freddy Kunkle, Post.

Inclusive style guide: Conversation revolved around style, usage and how to be non-racist in one’s reporting. Those interested in being part of a working group on the issue were invited to put their names in the Chat function of Zoom. Goldman has volunteered to chair the working group; Mettler will be the officer assigned to it.

Presenting the union: Barber asked how she could properly represent the union movement when participating in a panel discussion in May. Those in attendance offered ideas and suggestions.

The State: Hussein reported that management granted voluntary recognition to The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania: While it had intended to affiliate with WBNG, Parks reported that the local did not have the capacity to bargain a contract for such a small unit, so the unit was transferred to the Philadelphia local; WBNG had done something similar with a unit of workers at Temple University.

Education Committee: Gabor talked about organizing training with a well-known trainer in the organizing space that could be beneficial to open, closed, old and new shops. It’s six sessions of 2-3 hours plus reporting back. Get in touch with Gabor if you’re interested in joining the group. Registration deadline is May 3.

CWA convention: It’s been moved to October in New Orleans. Email Hussein if interested in being part of the local delegation, as delegates must be chosen by the June membership meeting. Mettler has been appointed as TNG’s representative to CWA’s Constitution Committee.

Consent agenda: Gabor moved, Pattison seconded moving the consent agenda. Motion carried.

AFL-CIO wage reopener: Gratz said the last two years of the five-year contract has a wage reopener. Guild members have not had a wage adjustment going on seven years. Talks continue.

Sun bonuses: Reed said the Guild is meeting with the company to go over proposals traded back and forth, especially given the company’s stingy proposal.

Change to Win contract: Gabor moved, Bryant seconded approving the Change to Win contract, with first-year increases ranging from 3% to 12%. Motion carried.

Democratic Socialists of America contract: Nelson moved, Goldman seconded approval of the DSA contract that boosts wages in the first year by 13% overall, with individual raises ranging from 7% to 23%. Motion carried.

United for Respect: Brusoe moved, Gabor seconded approving the United for Respect bargaining team of Maria Garza, Tyfeni Faulkner, Leonard Davis and Mauricio Escobar. Motion carried.

Color of Change: Brusoe moved, Gabor seconded approving the bargaining team of Ariel Moore, Cameron Jerrod Greer, Candice Fortin, Spencer Perry, Trevor McNary and alternates: Stephen Bradford and Salaah Muhammad. Motion carried.

Inside Higher Ed: Gabor moved, Brusoe seconded approving Greta Anderson as alternate bargaining team member. Motion carried.

Center for Public Integrity: A wager reopener (not requiring Executive Council approval) won 7.5% wage increases over the next two years. 25% hike for temporary fellows. Reporters now start at $70,000 a year.

Election and Referendum Committee: There was discussion about ERC nominees. Names of those willing to serve would be advanced at the May Executive Council meeting.

Strategic Planning Committee: Moyer moved, Bryant seconded hiring Lorenzo Scott to begin the strategic planning process for WBNG. Initial cost would be $1,500. Motion carried.

Front Page Awards: Brusoe said the 2021 awards will be more streamlined. The committee hopes to finalize categories next week and solicit entries in May, with an additional $500 grand prize for design or data work.

Education Committee: Bryant said the committee meets Tuesday, May 4, at 5 p.m.

Organizing Committee: Sheedy said it has been coordinating with Jett and has identified opportunities in the nonprofit sector as well as three media shops. It’s also building a database of members who want to be involved in the member-organizing program — including for those who want to organize in their own shops. It’s also working with TNG to provide opportunities. Sheedy is stepping in as committee chair while Fortier is on leave. T organize@ec.wbng.org

Administration-Operations Committee: Gabor said the committee is working on ramping up the new website, provided free by CWA. It’s also working on getting multiple Google Groups up and running. It also wants to hear from those who struggled with registration for the Executive Council meeting.

Communications Committee: Sheedy said the committee has stepped up WBNG’s presence on Twitter. It meets at noon April 22 to talk about modernizing communications, the website transition, cleaning up email lists, social media presence.

Bylaws Committee: Nelson said the next meeting is April 26 at 7 p.m. There will be some macro issues, but most of it will be cleaning up the current bylaws.

Good and Welfare: Gargoum said TNG’s constitution doesn’t permit unaffiliated members to vote on a variety of issues like contract ratification. She hopes it can be raised at the sector conference and convention to allow unaffiliated Executive Council members full voting rights.

Staff bargaining: There is a session slated for April 23.

Return to office: Parks said depending on variants and what members in WBNG units are doing, a return to work is not contemplated until January 2022. One person can be in the office by themselves.

Organizing opportunity: Yerardi outlined an organizing opportunity at a media outlet in the D.C. area. The name is not disclosed in these minutes. He offered to help in the organizing and bargaining process. Brusoe moved, Goldman seconded approving the organizing of this unit.

The question was called to end debate. Motion carried.

A vote on the original motion was taken. Motion carried unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned.