February 19, 2020 – Executive Council Meeting


Executive Council Meeting Minutes

Present: Steve Cook, Elise Bryant, Justin Moyer, Joel Gratz, Fatima Hussein, Katie Mettler, Ed Fortney, Tim Fitzgerald, Jazmin Gargoum, Bill O’Meara, Mark Pattison, Sybil Edwards (in place of Lydia Ealey), Don Griesheimer, Lillyanne Daigle, Tom Jackman, Freddy Kunkle, Marissa Lang, Vivian Lo (in place of Karma Zurkhang)

Staff:  Cet Parks, Rick Ehrmann,

Guest: Lori Richards, UFCW.

Excused: David DeJesus, Sam Nelson, Bryan Nelson, Jeremy Sprinkle

Absent: Hau Chu, Michelle Wang, Mark Gruenberg, Tamara McCalla, Scott Dance, Scott Reynolds, Rob Lever, Hassan Kanu, Ben Cooper, Gabriela Roque, Carl Charles

I.  Minutes:  Griesheimer moved, Lang seconded approving the minutes of the Jan. 29 meeting. Motion carried.

II.  Membership report:  Griesheimer moved, Gargoum seconded, approving the February membership report. Motion carried.

III.  Executive Director’s Report & Staff

  • Alan Troyan grievance: Pattison moved, Griesheimer seconded granting discretionary authority to arbitrate the Alan Troyan out-of-classification grievance at UFCW. Moyer offered a friendly amendment, rejected by the maker of the motion, to prepare a feasibility study on the local’s hiring of a staff attorney to handle legal matters.  The original motion carried on roll-call vote, 11-3.
  • Moyer issued a quorum-call demand. Quorum continued to be met.
  • Arbitration matters: Discussion continued on developing a better process to inform Executive Council members on arbitration requests. Mettler asked whether some kind of form could be supplied to the Executive Council for inclusion in the meeting packet.  Gargoum suggested having the grievant appear if possible, or to make use of technology to the grievant could make his/her case. 
  • Both Hussein and Mettler suggested finding ways to shame the employer into settling before arbitration, which would require building internal organizing capacity.  Cook asked for input from the local’s steward and organizing committees. 
  • Hussein volunteered to consult BIG attorneys in drafting a readable document to print.  This item will appear on the March Executive Council agenda.
  • Jessica Rinehart grievance:  Bryant moved, Pattison seconded granting discretionary authority in the Jessica Rinehart written admonishment grievance at UFCW.  Motion carried on a roll-call vote, 9-5, with one abstention.
  • Shristi Singh grievance:  Singh, of Ana, wants to appeal her unit’s rejection of her grievance to the Executive Council.  Griesheimer moved, Bryant seconded appealing the unit’s decision not to pursue the grievance further.  In lieu of a friendly amendment offering to defer the matter to the March Executive Council meeting, Griesheimer withdrew his motion.

IV.  Financials 

  • Pattison moved, Gargoum seconded approving the December financial report. Motion carried.
  • Budget projection:  The budget projection was reviewed and discussed. Cook asked that any Executive Council member who is interested in doing so to come back in March with specific proposals.

V.  Old Business

  • Front Page Awards:  The awards committee will email the Executive Council with thoughts on the awards.  Before the meeting came to order, an idea floated by committee members to have WBNG member-authors have their books available for purchase and autographing do so at the ceremony.
  • NOVA AFL-CIO “Tribute to Labor” dinner:  Bryant moved, Pattison seconded buying two tickets to the dinner, with the tickets to be used by BIG members with instructions to “work the room.”  Motion carried with one audible dissent.
  • Labor Notes Conference:  Pattison moved, Gargoum seconded giving discretionary authority to the executive director to identify up to four WNBG members to attend the Labor Notes conference April 17-19 in Chicago and to cover travel, lodging and per diem, and for four others to attend the conference as commuters.  Griesheimer offered a friendly amendment, approved by the maker and seconder, for the funds to be allocated from the J. Darlene Meyer Education Fund.  Motion carried.
  • TNG New Local officers Seminar:  Pattison moved, Gargoum seconded, sending two WBNG delegates to attend the scheduled March 6-9 TNG New Local Officers Seminar on a residential basis, and up to six others as commuters, with the funds allocated from the J. Darlene Meyer Education Fund. Motion carried.

VI.  New Business

  • D.C. LaborFest:  Pattison moved, Griesheimer seconded, buying a quarter-page ad for $250 in the D.C. LaborFest program.  Motion carried with one audible dissent. 
  • Events — films, music, books, the arts — are held during May. There was sentiment to organize WBNG trips to at least one LaborFest event.

VII.  Good & Welfare

  • CWA steward training:  Bryant reported CWA has new steward training booklets with PowerPoint slides, and will bring it to the stewards committee for workshops.

VIII.  Personell Caucus – None

IX.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.


Respectfully submitted,

Mark Pattison (CNS)

Washington-Baltimore News Guild