June 17, 2020 – Executive Council Meeting

Washington-Baltimore News Guild

Executive Council Meeting Minutes

Date of Meeting: June 17, 2020

Present:  Elise Bryant, Hau Chu, Steve Cook, Ben Cooper, David DeJesus, Tim Fitzgerald, Ed Fortney, Jasmine Gargoum, Joel Gratz, Don Griesheimer, Mark Gruenberg, Fatima Hussein, Tom Jackman, John Kenney (for Lillyanne Daigle), Fred Kunkle, Marissa Lang, Tamara McCalla, Katie Mettler, Justin Moyer, Sam Nelson, Bryan Nelson, Bill O’Meara, Mark Pattison, Scott Reynolds, Jeremy Sprinkle

Excused:  Lillyanne Daigle

Staff & Guests:  Rick Ehrmann, Bruce Jett, Cet Parks, Paul Reilly, Indigo Oliver (guest)

Meeting called to order at 7:00 PM

I.  Minutes

May 20, 2020 – Bill O’Meara motioned to approve and was seconded by Don Griesheimer. Corrections were noted and Motion passed.

II.  Membership Report

May 20, 2020 – June 17, 2020. Jeremy Sprinkle motioned to approve and seconded by Mark Gruenberg.  Motion Passed.

III.  Executive Director’s Report & Staff

Cet Parks

UFCW– Unit leadership requests discretionary authority to arbitrate Chris Johansson Notice of Unsatisfactory Performance grievance. Sam Nelson motioned to approve the request and seconded by Mark Gruenberg.  Motion passed.   

WBNG had investigated the possibility of getting federal Paycheck Protection Program loan grant money from one of the first two rounds of CARES Act funding, but because the local is not a 501(c)(3) — it’s a 501(c)(5) — we were not eligible. The North Carolina AFL-CIO qualified for such a loan.

Rick Ehrmann

Alliance for Justice – Rick Ehrmann requests approval of bargaining team. Tom Jackman motioned to approve and seconded by Mark Pattison.  Motion Passed.

Alliance for Justice – Requested retroactive authority to arbitrate a dispute at the newly organized Alliance for Justice. Management, before the Guild could get to the bargaining table, was making wholesale changes in working conditions that are mandatory subjects of bargaining — and which are supposed to be left untouched until a contract is reached. Mark Gruenberg motioned to approve and seconded by Tom Jackman. Motion Passed.

ANA – Requested approval of MOA ratification regarding temporary salary reduction issue that had been ratified by 102-0 vote by the unit.  with five abstentions.  Under the plan, salaries will be cut until Oct. 9 to help offset ANA’s multi million-dollar deficit, with the union and management meeting Sept. 1 to assess things.  Reductions will be on a sliding scale: Employees making $60,000 or less will be cut 2.5%, those making between $60,000-$100,000 will be reduced 4.25%, and those making over $100,000 will be cut 9.25%.  There will be no layoffs or reductions in hours during this period.  Don Griesheimer motioned to approve and seconded by Elise Bryant.  Motion Passed.

Metropolitan Washington Council – Requested approval of contract extension agreement for David Stephen. Mark Pattison motioned to approve, seconded by Bill O’Meara.  After two-and-a-half years without a contract, WBNG members at the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO Council came to an agreement on a contract extension: raises of 2.5% for 2018, 3% for 2019, and 3.5% for 2020, signed by recalcitrant D.C. Fed Acting President Andrew Washington his last day in office.  His successor is former WBNG member Dyana Forester, who had worked at UFCW HQ before going to work for UFCW Local 400. Motion Passed.

Paul Reilly

BBNA – Paul Reilly requests retroactive approval to file a complaint in federal court to force Bloomberg to arbitration on a jurisdiction grievance. Management at first claimed the grievance was not filed in a timely manner, but WBNG won an arbitration. Management is claiming the issue is not arbitrable.  The Guild is in talks with Bloomberg to get the matter resolved short of court.  Don Griesheimer motioned to approve, and the motion seconded.  Motion Passed.

IV.  Financials

Mark Pattison motioned to approve April 2020 Financial Report, seconded by Don Griesheimer. Motion Passed.

V.  Old Business

Bylaws Revision

Sam Nelson motioned to approve minor revisions to the proposed bylaws changes approved in April. The biggest change was different language in the article covering dues.  Some contradictory language that remained from the current bylaws — adopted in 2002 were removed, and some copy-editing changes were also made. The motion was seconded by Mark Pattison.  Motion Passed.

COVID-19 Update

Cet Parks reported on UFCW Return to Work issue (employers must bargain over return to office).

UFCW – WBNG is bargaining with UFCW HQ about return-to-office issues. The Guild has been advocating continued telework until the New Year, and management has been pushing for getting back to the office ASAP. Kaiser Permanente and SEIU Local 500 has acknowledged that it’s a mandatory issue of bargaining but hasn’t gotten around to bargaining yet. At Bloomberg, there is a labor-management committee working on return-to-office issues. The Washington Post isn’t returning to the office until at least Labor Day, and the New York Times has said it won’t bring its employees back to the office until 2021.

VI.  New Business

Member Contact Info

President Steve Cook discussed issues around member contact information. Don Griesheimer suggested adopting privacy policy in conjunction with asking for member information as a best practice.

Police Unions

Sam Nelson and Indigo Oliver discuss issues regarding need for police union reforms and presented a resolution calling for the AFL-CIO, WBNG, and other organizations, to disaffiliate the International Union of Police Associations from the federation, and for the CWA to expel an estimated 40,000 members who are in police or correctional officer unions.

After extensive discussions there was a vote on the resolution. The EC rejected the resolution presented by Sam Nelson.  The resolution failed to pass on a vote of 16-6 with (3) abstentions. 

Further discussions led to a proposal to create a task force to explore alternative proposals. Scott Reynolds motioned to establish a task force within the Local to study the issue of police reform strategies, and to report back to the EC with solutions, and the motion was seconded.  The motion to create a task force was adopted by the EC.    

VII.  Good & Welfare

Jobs With Justice – Byron Nelson motioned to approve renewal of JWJ membership fee for $200. The motion was seconded by Scott Reynolds.  Motion Passed.

WBNG has been the recipient of an overture by a neighbor on our floor in our office building in D.C. who may be interested in subleasing some of our office space — or buying us out of the lease entirely. The tenant hasn’t looked at our office space, and the Executive Council would have to approve any such change in our lease obligations. But when the new neighbor took a guided tour of the offices, they seemed to chill their interest.

VIII.  Personnel Caucus

No action items.

IX.  Adjournment

Jazmin Gargoum motioned to adjourn and seconded by Mark Pattison.  Meeting adjourned at 9:48 PM.