Staff

The representational staffers of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild have a combined 75-plus years of experience in organizing and bargaining, as well as in representing, mobilizing and educating workers. Their experience spans sectors, occupations and populations.

Cet Parks

Executive Director (he/him/his)

Cet Parks joined WBNG as a local representative in January 2000 and was named executive director in May 2005. As executive director, Cet is responsible for the daily administration of the local union. During his tenure, he has been a local representative for The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, as well as for other WBNG units such as the AFL-CIO.

In addition to his WBNG involvement, he brings many years of experience as a field representative and organizer at the international union level with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT); the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA). Cet was part of a team that successfully organized 2,000 workers at Rhode Island Hospital in 1994 for the IBT. From 1993 to 1996, Cet also participated in several other successful organizing drives at industrial plants and poultry plants in the South.

Prior to his arrival at WBNG, Cet was a chief negotiator for several area union construction collective bargaining agreements in Alabama with LIUNA (1995-1997) and was the IBT representative for the State of Maryland (Correction Officers) collective bargaining agreement (1997).

Cet also has prior experience in administrating the daily affairs of a local union. In 1996, Cet was elected into the highest local union office as the business manager and secretary-treasurer of Laborers' Local 70 in Mobile, AL. A graduate of Morehouse College and of American University Washington College of Law, he was also a top graduate of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute in 1992.

Nancy Banks

Office Manager

Nancy Banks joined WBNG as its office manager in March 1996. She is primarily responsible for the day-to-day administrative and support functions for the local. Ms. Banks's duties are central to the dozens of news, information, nonprofit and labor organization units WBNG represents.

One of her most vital functions is diligently and accurately processing monthly per capita dues for all of the Guild members under our jurisdiction.

Ms. Banks is a graduate of Norfolk State University and Chesapeake Tidewater Community College. Her distinguished professional career began with a two-year tenure in the federal government at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in DC. She later worked for the Department of Defense at the Norfolk Navy Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA, where she achieved several promotions during her 16-year federal career. She previously served as an Equal Employment Opportunity specialist before returning to DC and taking on her role at the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

Ms. Banks's dedicated and unselfish service to the Guild has created a strong foundation for a growing and vibrant organization.

Shirley Cherry

Bookkeeper

Shirley Cherry joined the Washington-Baltimore News Guild in April 2018 as the bookkeeper for the local and has more than 35 years of education and experience in accounting. Prior to joining the Guild, Shirley was the staff accountant for John I. Haas Hop Company for 13 years. After leaving Haas, she became the executive board bookkeeper for the International Union of Bricklayers for three years and then the senior staff accountant for Housing Assistance Council. Shirley also assisted in setting up the accounting for a public charter school in the District of Columbia. Shirley has experience in both for profit and non-profit settings.

Eric Geist

Local Representative (he/him)

Eric Geist has been a Guild member and activist since he started working in the commercial department of The Washington Post. He has extensive experience in the labor movement, having worked at The NewsGuild, CWA and Department of Professional Employees at the AFL-CIO.

At TNG, Eric served as an international representative and later as the director of field operations, supervising and leading negotiations for multiple contracts, directing the union’s organizing program and training members and local leaders. In 1993, he worked on the Canadian Media Guild’s successful organizing campaign among unions at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which added more than 2,300 members, more than quadrupling the unit’s membership. He also worked on the affiliation of the Boston Globe union in 1995 and was the lead organizer for the Radio Free Asia campaign.

Eric has been back with WBNG since 2018, supporting members in bargaining and organizing, including some career highlights as chief negotiator. Eric worked with Guild members at Lambda Legal to win an initial contract with a health insurance plan that covers medically necessary transition-related health care. At the League of Conservation Voters, he helped members win an initial contract that includes guarantees of racial justice, equity and inclusion for all employees.

Bruce Jett

Local Representative

Bruce Jett became a member of the NY Newspaper Guild in 1987 as an advertising salesperson and later volunteered as a Guild shop steward. He also served as a Guild grievance chair, Affirmation Action Committee member and was elected as the New York Daily News unit chair in 1992 thereby becoming the first African American unit chair of the New York Daily News Unit at the Guild. Jett also served as a News Guild bargaining team member on contract campaigns across the table from prospective Daily News owners Robert Maxwell and, later, Mort Zuckerman and Fred Drasner.

Jett later went to work as a union representative for the Committee of Interns and Medical Residents in New York City, helping medical residents find their voice and champion safe working conditions in the midst of stressful 120-hour work weeks for most medical residents. He also helped coordinate and mobilize “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege” campaigns. In 1999, he moved to Virginia and was hired as a project organizer for AFSCME International and successfully organized several FAA campaigns in Washington, DC.

Jett was soon promoted to staff organizer, journey organizer, lead organizer and then organizing director at AFSCME International in 2003. He went on to direct the groundbreaking state of New Mexico employees organizing campaign which led to almost 9,000 eligible employees signing up and receiving voluntary recognition from Governor Bill Richardson within a nine-month period. He later served one year as the interim director in New Mexico for Council 18, which had 26 locals and 10,000 members.

Jett also led organizing campaigns for AFSCME Local 1733 in Memphis, which garnered over 1,000 new Head Start and Memphis City School clerical members in 2006. He later became the interim executive director for the historic Local in 2007-2008. Jett also served as interim executive director at the AFSCME Houston local and as an area field service director for the International Union.

He brings numerous years of experience to the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, not just in organizing and mobilization but also with administration and negotiating public and private sector contracts across multiple industries and professions. He has been diligently and successfully working as an organizing consultant here at Local 32035 in DC since 2011 as lead organizer on the Center for Popular Democracy, M+R Strategic Services, BSMG/Chesapeake, Lambda Legal and the League of Conservation Voters campaigns.

Paul Reilly

Local Representative

Paul Reilly has been a member of The NewsGuild since 1980, when he went to work for United Press International in San Francisco and later for The Associated Press in New York and Washington.

Paul was hired as a local representative at WBNG in 2001 and has been the primary representative for the local’s second largest unit, Bloomberg Industry Group (formerly Bureau of National Affairs, BNA). In addition to Bloomberg Industry Group, Paul helped organize and bargain the first contract at the local’s fourth largest unit, Radio Free Asia. Paul’s other units include Politico/E&E News (PEN Guild), Agence France-Presse, Roanoke Times, Charlottesville Daily Progress, The State (SC), Catholic News Service and Casa de Maryland.

While working for The AP, Paul served as local vice president (at the Wire Service Guild, now known as the News Media Guild); National Grievance Committee chair; editor of the local newspaper; full-time organizer; full-time mobilizer; shop steward; and full-time bargainer (first bargaining a contract at The AP in 1985). While Wire Service Guild vice president, Paul directed a mobilization and recruiting effort at The AP that saw the membership rate in the nationwide open shop climb from 50 percent to more than 60 percent in less than a year, and he established a permanent mobilization network that kept the membership rate strong.

Sammi Sluder

Local Representative (she/her)

Sammi joined the local staff in 2021. An activist to the core, in 2019 she joined her colleagues at the League of Conservation Voters to form a union with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild and served on the bargaining committee to win a first contract after just nine months. Through the trauma of 2020, Sammi and her Guild siblings at LCV built an active contract campaign with a diverse, multi-racial group of organizers, securing an average salary increase of 10%, protections for immigrant staff, accountability structures for racist harassment and toxic behavior and improved employee control over job descriptions and workload. Following the first contract, she served as a shop steward and a NewsGuild member organizer before joining as WBNG staff.

A third generation Hoosier, Sammi became a vegetarian after reading about the terrible working conditions in meat packing plants and was voted “most likely to become a tree hugger” her senior year. She graduated from Marquette University, where she studied Economics, French and Theology. She moved to DC during the 2016 election and was politically activated by the Trump victory. Sammi lives in Washington, DC, in Ward 7 and loves to cook, bake, and listen to film review podcasts. She’s an alumni of the Rising Organizers Fellowship and a member of Metro DC DSA and All Souls Church.

Evan Yeats

Local Representative

Evan Yeats joined the WBNG staff in March 2021. Originally from Iowa, Evan has lived in DC since 2008. His first union membership was at AFSCME, working as an overnight police dispatcher while in college. After a stint as an award-winning radio reporter in Eastern Iowa, he became a labor communicator, organizer and representative and worked as the communications director for a team that won the first-ever contract for civilian municipal workers in Houston. He started working at the United Food and Commercial Workers in 2008, and worked on campaigns for bargaining, organizing and workplace safety that helped tens of thousands of retail, food manufacturing and meatpacking workers find their voice at work. At the UFCW, he was a longtime WBNG leader, winning Unit Officer of the Year (2012) and leading the unit to the Unit of the Year (2013) at the WBNG Front Page Awards. Prior to coming to WBNG, he was consulting on bargaining for news workers in California, Hawaii and Florida. He lives in Takoma, DC with his wife and three children.