Washington-Baltimore News Guild
Executive Council Meeting Minutes
Date of Meeting: August 19, 2020
Present: Kent Anderson, Elise Bryant, Peter Brusoe, Hau Chu, Carl Charles, Steve Cook, Ben Cooper, David DeJesus, Tim Fitzgerald, Jazmin Gargoum, Joel Gratz, Don Griesheimer, Fatima Hussein, Tom Jackman, Marissa Lang, Tamara McCalla, Katie Mettler, Justin Moyer, Sam Nelson, Bryan Nelson, Mark Pattison, Scott Reynolds, Jeremy Sprinkle
Excused: Mark Gruenberg, Robert Lever
Staff & Guests: Rick Ehrmann, Eric Geist, Bruce Jett, Cet Parks, Paul Reilly, Caitlin Wilson, Donna Cartwright, Chris Stein, Ken Anderson, Frank Fritz (UFCW Local 1994)
Meeting called to order at 7:04 PM
July 18, 2020 – Elise Bryant motioned to approve minutes and seconded by Tom Jackman. Motion Passed.
July 24, 2020 Board Poll – Don Griesheimer motioned to approve poll and seconded by Jeremy Sprinkle. Motion Passed.
II. Membership Report
July 18 – August 19, 2020. Don Griesheimer motioned to approve and seconded Tom Jackman. Motion Passed.
III. Executive Director’s Report & Staff
York Daily Record – Cet Parks requested discretionary authority to file ULP regarding Gannet 401K employee contribution issue. Mark Pattison motioned to approve request and seconded by Sam Nelson. Motion Passed.
UFCW Local 1994 Staff Union – Peter Brusoe motioned to allow Executive Director Cet Parks authority to sign up and file a petition regarding UFCW Local 1994 members who are currently under representation by FAIR. UFCW Local 1994 represents 12 staffers. After discussion and vote the Motion Passed.
Alliance for Justice – Rick Ehrmann requests approval of bargaining committee members Leslie Barnes, Zach Ford, Sara Matlin, alternates Aaron Truealt and Quyen Tu. Don Griesheimer motioned to approve, seconded by Sam Nelson. Motion Passed.
ANA – Rick Ehrmann request approval of recently elected members of the ANA bargaining committees (back to office and contract). Don Griesheimer motioned to approve the members and Peter Brusoe seconded. The Motion Passed.
Jobs With Justice – Paul Reilly requested approval of JWJ bargaining team. Mark Pattison motioned to approve and seconded by Peter Brusoe. Motion Passed.
Lambda Legal – Eric Geist requested discretionary authority to arbitrate a grievance if necessary, regarding a senior financial analyst job position which was excluded from its contract. Peter Brusoe motioned to approve, seconded by Sam Nelson. Motion Passed.
League of Conservation Voters – Requests authority to ratify and sign new contract agreement. Sam Nelson motioned to approve and seconded by Jeremy Sprinkle. Motion Passed.
League of Conservation Voters – Eric Geist requested approval of officers’ first term effective with election of new officers and serve until conclusion of the next election cycle. Don Griesheimer motioned to approve, seconded by Peter Brusoe. Motion Passed.
No action items
June 2020 Summary of Financial Highlights
Cet Parks presented a summary of financial highlights for the period ending June 30, 2020 (nine months into the FY). Justin Moyer motioned to approve June 2020 Financial Report, seconded by Peter Brusoe. Motion Passed.
Fiscal 2021 Budget – Budget Motion
Justin Moyer motioned that the budget be approved, and the Executive Director, the four officers and four other EC members (who are appointed through a vote of the full Executive Council) shall develop a detailed business plan for FY 2021-2022 with budget showing a balanced budget and a 3-year strategic plan setting priorities and goals for the local to be submitted to the Executive Council by December 1, 2020, given our continued deficit spending. The motion was seconded by Peter Brusoe.
After further discussion, the Motion Passed to approve the FY 2021 budget and establish a planning committee for the FY 2021/22 3-year strategic plan.
A board poll will be conducted to request participation of EC members interested in serving on the strategic planning committee.
Bob Paul Invoices
No action items.
NC State Online Convention Call
Jeremy Sprinkle’s unit requested approval to send two delegates to the online convention. Peter Brusoe motioned to approve and was seconded by Jazmin. Motion Passed.
Virginia AFL-CIO State Convention
Scott Reynolds motioned to send up to five delegates, pending verification of event, and cover registration fees. The motion was seconded by Joel Gratz. A roll call vote was taken and The Motion Failed to Pass (3-Yes, 12-No and 2-Abstain)
After additional discovery and discussion, it was determined there is no cost to attend this convention. An amended motion was made by Jeremy Sprinkle to send up to five delegates to the convention, seconded by Sam Nelson. Motion Passed.
Health and Safety Committee
President Steve Cook discussed organizing a Health & Safety Committee to address Covid related back-to-work safety issues, chaired by Peter Brusoe, with the goal of recruiting members from EC. Fatima Hussein motioned to approve, seconded by Elise Bryant. Motion Passed.
Cet provided an update that the NLRB does not recognize bargaining over this issue unless language exists in existing contracts.
V. Old Business
Press Associates Renewal deferred.
VI. New Business
Police Affiliation – Motion for Special Membership Meeting
Katie Mettler addressed EC regarding a call for a special general membership meeting on September 3, 2020 to solely discuss the police disaffiliation vote. Katie Mettler motioned that the Executive Council shall place a resolution on police union affiliation on the agenda of a special/emergency meeting of the General Membership for consideration on September 3, 2020. That shall be the sole order of business for the Special Membership Meeting.
The motion was seconded by Scott Reynolds. After further discussion the Motion Passed to hold a special membership meeting on September 3, at 7 PM.
Motion – ITT Federal Lawsuit and Legal Fees
Joel Gratz motioned – “I would request that the leadership of ITT be requested to attend the EC meeting to discuss their decision to place WBNG’s name on a federal lawsuit without any prior discussion at all with WBNG leadership or authority to take such action.” Motion was seconded by Tom Jackman and was opened to discussion.
Carl Charles offered a friendly amendment to engage in mentorship the ITT members and council them on our policies and practices. After further discussion Joel Gratz withdrew his motion.
Motion on Legal Fees
Joel Gratz motioned that a committee of the local consisting of the Executive Director, the President, the Treasurer and two members of the local, who may but need not be EC members. conduct: 1) a review of the legal fees incurred by the local to understand the primary cost drivers of those fees. 2) consider viable options for holding fees stable during the next fiscal year and 3) evaluate future options for legal representation of the local including a review of hourly rates charged attorneys providing similar services as the Local now receives, the viability of hiring a staff attorney for the Local and potential timelines for any changes. The committee shall deliver a report of their findings by the January 2021 General Membership meeting. The motion was seconded by Peter Brusoe.
After further discussion, Justin Moyer concluded that the newly created strategic budget planning committee could address these concerns. Joel Gratz withdrew his motion with an understanding that the strategic planning committee would incorporate the elements of his motion in its plan.
Save the News
President Cook discussed Save the News survey and encouraged units to support the initiative.
Caitlin Wilson (AFP) addressed concerns they have about the lack of diversity within its newsroom ranks, especially considering the BLM movement and other current social issues, despite contract language requiring hiring of minority groups. Their concerns have been presented to management. Caitlin is also asking for input and guidance form the EC on this issue.
Katie Mettler/Dave DeJesus, Washington Post and Fatima Hussein at BBNA shared strategies used regarding diversity issues and agreed to reach/discuss sharing information.
Carl Charles shared as strategy that at Lambda Legal they are considering filing a grievance about equitable language in their contract regarding steps their employer has not taken based on language in their CBA.
Front Page Awards
Peter Brusoe updated EC that October 8, 2020 is 7 PM is scheduled date for the 2020 Front Page Virtual Awards.
VII. Good & Welfare
Elise Bryant updated on candlelight vigil at BLM Plaza – “Vote Like Black Lives Matter tee shirts are available.
Peter Brusoe informed members that GM and EC meeting scheduled for September 18, 2020 falls on Rosh Hashanah holiday. It was discussed that the meeting date could be moved back one week to September 26, 2020. Additionally, Peter Brusoe proposed to send out the rescheduled meeting date on the postcard slated to inform members of Front-Page Awards to save on mailing costs.
Carl Charles motioned to reschedule September 18 General Membership meeting scheduled for September 26, 2020, to September 26, 2020 in observance of Rosh Hashanah holiday, seconded by Peter Brusoe. Motion Passed.
VIII. Personnel Caucus
No action items.
Peter Brusoe motioned to adjourn and was seconded. Meeting adjourned at 10:18 PM.