Did You Know?

Guild Reporter
Syndicate content
Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

Why NewsGuild is the Right Place for Digital Media Workers

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 12:38pm
Bernie Lunzer, PresidentSeptember 24, 2015The NewsGuild-CWA  Learn more about The NewsGuild-CWA and what members say about us at www.digitalmediaguild.org   The digital journalists of the 21st century report with iPhones and tablets, but they’re not that different from early Guild members who pounded out the news on manual typewriters.   Newspaper writers of the 1930s banded together because they wanted stability. Their hours were unreasonable. Their pay was scant. Speaking with one voice as a union gave them the power to improve not only their jobs but their lives.   Then, as now, they felt privileged to be journalists and were committed to doing the highest-quality work. A union contract helped ensure that they could.   Fast forward and you’ll see that nothing has changed except the platform. We have long had “platform-neutral” folks writing for news services such as AP, Reuters, UPI and the Canadian Press. Today, more than 2,000 Guild members work in exclusively digital newsrooms, but most of our journalists are “platform agnostic.” Their work may appear in a traditional newspaper, but it’s also online, streamed to mobile phones, heard on podcasts, seen in video. It’s everywhere.   In many respects, the pursuit of news, the writing, reporting and editing, has not changed. But today there’s a 24-hour news cycle.  Social media has also extended the workday and workload. Most journalists are required to tweet and post, and stay on top of their accounts even when they’re not working.   Many journalists went into digital media with high hopes but low expectations because digital profit was illusory. But as many startups have stabilized and even turned a profit, workers have decided that they want some stability, too. It is a wonderful development.   Digital media workers are starting to see unions as the tool that can get them there. A spate of successful organizing drives since June—including new Guild units at the Guardian US and Al Jazeera America—are spurring more campaigns.   The NewsGuild-CWA has been talking to union-curious workers for several years at many locations. Now, some of those conversations have turned into active organizing drives. We are pursuing them diligently.   But, no, I can’t tell you yet where they’re happening. We never openly discuss active campaigns. It’s counter-productive, causing too many employers to become hostile to our efforts and the workers leading them. Prematurely announcing a drive can be its death knell.   We’re asking all of our members to be emissaries to others in the industry who don’t have the benefit of a union—yet.   Tell them the value of having a voice at work, of being able to speak up without fear thanks to a contract that won’t allow their boss to fire them without just cause.   Without throwing stones, let me say that some unions seem more enthusiastic about organizing than they are about bargaining. You can’t separate one from the other. We don’t go into an organizing drive without committing ourselves and all our resources, skill and experience to negotiating a fair first contract.   Collective bargaining is our hallmark and our strength. We listen to our members. Their bargaining units decide what to pursue at the table. We advise, we back their efforts with supportive staff, we help in every way possible. But we don’t tell them what to do.   The Guild and CWA are bottom-up, not top-down. In fact, CWA is the most democratic, member-driven group of all the large unions. And the NewsGuild is the most democratic sector of the biggest democratic union.   As a sector of CWA, we have access to substantial funding that makes it possible to run public campaigns when our members need that kind of support in organizing or bargaining. Through careful and strategic budgeting, there’s almost a half-billion dollars available. This is the value of being part of an extended community.   Few unions have those kind of resources, and none have our experience with the unique needs of journalists. None are as concerned as we are about the future of journalism, from sustainable business models to protecting the rights of a free press.   And, like our founders, we recognize that we have a duty to all workers. Our Guild was founded as a craft union of writers in the AFL. Within a few years leaders decided that wasn’t enough and the Guild became an industrial union as part of the CIO. As an industrial union we began organizing all kinds of media workers and are far stronger for it.   We’re still building on that. Like our parent union CWA, we represent a variety of workers, from people on the sales, IT and business side of news organizations to interpreters, English as a second language teachers and more. And we join with the larger union movement in the pursuit of social justice.   The NewsGuild-CWA is the right place for digital media workers who care about their future and the future of the industry itself. We are a vibrant community of professionals and activists committed to journalism and its vital role in our democracy. In that respect nothing has changed.  

Egyptian Leader Pardons Imprisoned Al Jazeera Journalists

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 11:49am
Krishnadev CalamurSeptember 23, 2015The Atlantic

Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were among 100 people pardoned Wednesday by Egyptian leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi on the occasion of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha. Fahmy and Mohamed, who were arrested in December 2013, were sentenced last month, along with their colleague, the Australian Peter Greste, to at least three years in prison. Greste's sentence was handed down even though he was deported in February. The charges against them, "broadcasting false news" were baseless. But they were all found guilty in a charade of a trial.

Guild Seeks Sector Representative in Great Lakes Region

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 2:05pm
StaffSeptember 21, 2015NewsGuild-CWA   The NewsGuild-CWA has an opening for a sector representative. Factors in hiring will be depth of experience in the following areas: collective bargaining, organizing, mobilizing and arbitration.    The position will be located initially in the Great Lakes region. The NewsGuild-CWA reserves the right to move the job location o n a one-time basis.   The contractual annual wage rate starts at $61,848.98 but can be higher based on experience, as defined in the collective bargaining agreement. Travel required. Excellent benefits.   The NewsGuild-CWA is an equal opportunity employer.   Please apply by sending a resume to staffjob@newsguild.org.   Questions? Contact NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer :   ( 202 ) 434-7175 or b@bluz.co


See Why NewsGuild is ''The Voice for Digital Journalists'

Thu, 09/17/2015 - 4:08pm
StaffSeptember 17, 2015Newspaper Guild of New York

No union knows journalists like NewsGuild-CWA. As interest in unions grows among digital medis workers, NewsGuild is rolling out a campaign to show how and why it's the best choice, bringing more than 80 years experience and a deep understanding of the unique needs of journalists to the table. Here's what one of the Guild members quoted on the site, Siobhan Huges of WSJ.com, says, "The Guild is one of the most important forces standing between reporters like me and the companies under pressure to deliver a constant stream of news in a 24-hour-a-day news cycle. Without the Guild, it would be a lot harder to get a fair shake for weekend and holiday work, and a lot harder to force a conversation about benefits and annual pay raises. I’d tell any digital journalist weighing whether to join the Guild that it’s worth it." Check out the Guild's new website, "The Voice for Digital Journalists."

Featured Title: NewsGuild-CWA: 'The Voice for Digital Journalists'

United Way Signs Card Check/Neutrality Agreement with Guild

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 1:52pm
Janelle HartmanSeptember 11, 2015NewsGuild-CWA  Under nationwide pressure from labor unions, United Way Worldwide has signed a card check and neutrality agreement with the Guild to allow support and professional staff to organize if they choose.   With many unions being long and loyal contributors to UWW, labor was outraged by the charity’s anti-union campaign that led professional employees, known as associates, to vote down Guild representation by a wide margin in May.   “Some of the letters that management sent to employees were made public and unions around the country contacted United Way and questioned their continued participation in United Way campaigns,” said Guild Administrative Director Tim Schick, who oversees organizing campaigns.   Workers began talking with the Washington-Baltimore Guild in late 2014. By the time of the May 13 election, management’s strategy had turned a majority of voters against unionizing. “We lost the drive after UWW used some bad tactics,” Guild President Bernie Lunzer said. But the relationship has now been repaired.   “They made a mistake and acknowledged that. We believe we’re past that now that the card check agreement is in place. I believe UWW and TNG-CWA share many of the same social justice values.”


Guild Member's Reporting Helps Put 100+ Rapists in Prison

Tue, 09/08/2015 - 4:30pm
Chava CourarieSeptember 8, 2015Columbia Journalism Review

CJR shines a bright light on the powerful, life-changing work done by Northeast Ohio Guild member Rachel Dissell (pictured). Since 2009, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter has been investigating and writing about untested rape kits at the Cleveland Police Department. Public officials, instead of defensiveness, responded by tackling the backlog in earnest. Since 2011, when the city began sending rape kits to the state’s crime lab, almost all of its 4,000 kits have been tested. While 1,600 contained usable DNA, another 350 cases have led to grand jury indictments. As of this month, more than 100 rapists have been convicted, some of multiple rapes. The county prosecutor overseeing the rape kit task force told CJR that it wouldn't exist without Dissell and her former reporting partner, Leila Atassi. “They are really the reason we are where we are," he said.

Featured Title: CJR Applauds Guild Member's Powerful Rape Kit Investigation

Can Millennials Save Unions?

Tue, 09/08/2015 - 11:47am
Jonathan TimmSeptember 8, 2015The Atlantic

Millennials’ positive opinions of unions should inspire some optimism among the labor movement. Earlier this year, Pew found that, while opinions about unions are evenly split among older generations, the majority of young people view them favorably. The Center for American Progress found in post-election polls a similar level of modest but still solid support among young people.

New York Guild Organizes News Staff at Al Jazeera America

Thu, 09/03/2015 - 10:31am
StaffSeptember 3, 2015The NewsGuild of New York

Citing a deep commitment to Al Jazeera America’s mission of providing quality, cutting-edge journalism, and a desire for more consistent and transparent management practices, the digital newsroom of Al Jazeera America announced today that it has petitioned for representation with The NewsGuild of New York, CWA Local 31003. An overwhelming majority of the digital newsroom has signed on to the effort, and the group has called on AJAM’s management to voluntarily recognize their union. They are still awaiting a formal response from the company. - See more at: http://www.nyguild.org/newsreader/items/al-jazeera-america-digital-journalists-organize-with-newsguild-of-ny.html#sthash.jLDezrQn.dpuf

Featured Title:  Al Jazeera America Journalists Seek Guild Representation

Politico Reports on NewsGuild's Digital Organizing Campaign

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 11:31am
Peter SterneSeptember 2, 2015Politico

Politico looks at how NewsGuild-CWA and the Writers Guild of America-East are both working to organize digital media workers. While the Writers Guild has gotten a lot of media attention recently for its organizing drives, NewsGuild represents far more digital journalists and has launched a $500,000 campaign -- thanks to CWA's Strategic Industry Fund -- to organize more. NewsGuild President Bernie Lunzer said Lunzer he believes that journalists who do their homework will pick NewsGuild, owing to its decades of experience organizing newspaper journalists. “Especially in the world of journalism, if you were to disregard what’s been really the predominant union for journalists for over 70 years in the United States, I think that would be really kind of foolish,” he said.

VICE Journalists Held In Turkey Transferred to Distant Prison

Wed, 09/02/2015 - 11:24am
StaffSeptember 2, 2015VICE News

VICE News' team of three journalists — who remain detained in Turkey for entirely baseless and absurd charges — have now been transported to a high-security "F-type" prison facility more than five hours away from where their legal representation is based, and from the court where they are due to appear, said Kevin Sutcliffe, VICE's Head of News Programming in Europe. A Turkish court leveled formal charges of terrorism at two VICE News journalists and their colleague on Monday, as global rights groups have continued to call for the reporters to be released. The three are British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, and Turkey-based Iraqi translator and journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool.

Featured Title: Turkey Sends VICE Journalists to Distant High-Security Prison

Few Leads in Shooting Death of Manchester Guild Member

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 1:41pm
Mark HaywardSeptember 1, 2015New Hampshire Union Leader

All available police detectives are investigating the unexplained shooting death of a well-known Manchester native as she went for her regular Sunday-night exercise walk in an affluent North End neighborhood, a grim-faced police chief said Monday. Authorities released a time line detailing the final hours of Bedford resident Denise Robert, 62, a longtime advertising sales representative and Guild member at the Union Leader Corp.

CWA, Media Sector ‘Heartsick’ Over Journalists’ Murders

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 3:26pm
StaffAugust 26, 2015NewsGuild-CWA

Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed while doing a live TV interview Wednesday morning.


The following statement was issued jointly by NewsGuild, NABET and CWA:

THIS morning’s senseless tragedy in Roanoke, Va., struck close to home for the journalists and other news media workers represented by The NewsGuild-CWA and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA).

We are heartsick over the killings of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. Our thoughts and prayers are with their grieving colleagues, friends and families,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. “We also pray for the recovery of Vicki Garner, the woman the journalists were interviewing, who was badly wounded.”

The threats journalists face on the job every day do not normally include their coworkers. But tragically, work-related shootings and other violence are not uncommon in the United States. Our members in the media sector and all of the Communications Workers of America are gravely concerned about this issue and committed to helping build safe workplaces.

Whatever the shooter’s motive, two young people who were looking forward to long and happy lives are gone today. We join with WDBJ, the Roanoke community and all those who loved Alison and Adam in mourning their loss.

As Investors Circle, Organized Labor Moves into Digital Media

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 11:59am
Lukas I. AlpertAugust 20, 2015The Wall Street Journal

As online media outlets grow in heft—generating significant revenue and earning eye-popping valuations in investment rounds—their workers are beginning to argue they deserve better compensation and employment protections. But the labor organizing movement is happening at what is arguably the most inopportune moment for the industry, just as it is attracting attention from strategic investors who can inject a huge amount of capital into their fledgling businesses. Big media companies are scouting the space aggressively as they chase young audiences, and while unions won’t necessarily be a hang-up in deals, they won’t be a selling point.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Members Ratify Contract Extension

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 11:12am
Jeff GordonAugust 19, 2015United Media Guild

The Post-Dispatch unit of the United Media Guild approved a three-year contract extension by a 71-23 vote Tuesday afternoon at the newspaper’s downtown building. The extension — the result of expedited bargaining earlier this month — will take effect immediately and run through Sept. 30, 2018. The contract includes 2 percent raises every December from 2015 to 2017.

Growing Numbers of Global Journalists Seeking Asylum

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 10:03am
Allison GrinerAugust 19, 2015Columbia Journalism Review

Mexican journalist Ricardo Chávez Aldana was leaving his home, his job, and his country behind as he hurried across the border into El Paso, Texas in December 2009. He is part of an ever-growing population of journalists forced into exile by fear of persecution. In June, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual “Journalists in Exile” report tallied 82 new cases in the past year alone, based on cases in its Journalist Assistance Program, which offers aid and legal support to vulnerable journalists and their families. The actual number of exiled journalists worldwide might in fact be much higher. Forced exile is “as violent an aggression against press freedom as imprisoning journalists,” said María Salazar-Ferro, coordinator of CPJ’s Journalist Assistance Program. “It’s a very easy, very underreported way of silencing critical voices."

After 13 Months in Iranian Jail, Post Reporter Awaits Verdict

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 9:46am
Carol MorelloAugust 19, 2015The Washington Post

Tuesday is visitors’ day for Jason Rezaian, the day that Iranian authorities permit the imprisoned Washington Post journalist to see his mother and his wife. But this Tuesday’s visit was unlike any other over the past month and a half that Mary Rezaian has been in Iran for her son. They are waiting for an imminent verdict in the case against The Post’s Tehran bureau chief, who has been held for 13 months and is accused of espionage and other crimes. “It’s safe to say he’s steeling himself,” said Mary Rezaian in a phone call after the weekly visit. “He’s preparing himself to hear a verdict other than acquittal. A severe verdict, with a long sentence. We’re preparing ourselves for anything. It would be wonderful, a miracle, if he were acquitted, but I think it’s highly unlikely.”

Amazon a Bruising Workplace Even for White-Collar Employees

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 10:32am
Jodi Kantor & David StreitfeldAugust 17, 2015The New York Times

The New York Times examines Amazon's extreme high-pressure work environment and the costs to employees, who often work 80 or more hours per week. "At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are 'unreasonably high.' The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others... The company, founded and still run by Jeff Bezos, rejects many of the popular management bromides that other corporations at least pay lip service to and has instead designed what many workers call an intricate machine propelling them to achieve Mr. Bezos’ ever-expanding ambitions."

Why the Charges Against Lowery, Reilly in Ferguson are Absurd

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 9:35am
Jonathan PetersAugust 14, 2015Columbia Journalism Review

CJR's Jonathan Peters tears into St. Louis County officials for the "bullshit and highly misguided" charges against journalists Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly in connection with their arrest -- and release -- one year ago while covering Ferguson. The arrests seem to have been deliberate and unjustifiable attempts to interfere with the press, and the charges, perversely, memorialize and magnify that interference. I’m hardly out on a limb here. News Guild President Bernie Lunzer called the charges “a gross abuse of power” and a “vile assault on the First Amendment.” Society of Professional Journalists President Dana Neuts said county officials “have learned nothing in the last year about the … rights of journalists to cover the news without interference or threats.” And Committee to Protect Journalists Deputy Director Robert Mahoney said he was “appalled” and that “US authorities have no business hauling reporters into court for doing their jobs, especially on a world story like Ferguson.”

Editorial: The Pentagon's Dangerous Views on Wartime Press

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 10:15am
Editorial BoardAugust 13, 2015The New York Times

The Defense Department earlier this summer released a comprehensive manual outlining its interpretation of the law of war. The 1,176-page document, the first of its kind, includes guidelines on the treatment of journalists covering armed conflicts that would make their work more dangerous, cumbersome and subject to censorship. Those should be repealed immediately.

NewsGuild Seeks 2 Organizers for Digital Media Workers

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 1:59pm
StaffAugust 12, 2015NewsGuild-CWA  Two Special Assignment Organizers Project duration 1-2 years Locations: New York City and Washington, DC     TNG-CWA is seeking experienced, self-motivated organizers to work with digital media workers.   The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America represents over 22,000 news media workers in the US and Canada. Our members work in all areas of the news industry, including print, broadcast and digital operations.    Key responsibilities:   o   Initiate and pursue organizing leads among digital media workers.   o   Direct organizing committee work: keep the committee members on track, motivate them, give them a realistic assessment of progress and inoculate them on employer tactics.    o   Work with local leaders to identify and encourage local members to participate in organizing campaigns and build support for organizing.   o   Assess workers’ support of the union, identify and recruit potential committee members, facilitate committee meetings, and help committee determine timing for going public.   o   Run campaigns with minimal assistance, motivate and dig out committee members, work in a team with other organizers involved in the campaign.   o   Track, compile and analyze campaign data; continuously assess progress of campaign, and develop plans and ideas to move through and over walls.   o   Train organizing committee members.   o   Work effectively with local and national leaders on priority campaigns.     A qualified candidate will:   o   Have at least 3 years organizing experience. o   Be willing to work weekends and long, irregular hours. o   Be able to travel to work locations away from home by car and plane, as needed. o   Communicate effectively verbally, in writing, in electronic transmissions and by social media.     o   Have a solid working knowledge of systematic organizing, ability to use charts and lists and other tools to gather, analyze, and share information about a campaign. o   Have a fundamental commitment to building a diverse and democratic labor movement. o   Be able to communicate effectively and establish a rapport with workers of diverse backgrounds and demographics.  o   Move people to make specific, concrete, commitments and take action.     Salary and Benefits   Pay:  $60,000 to $75,000 (subject to experience and negotiated increases) Medical and dental insurance 401k with match Union representation     Application Deadline: August 27, 2015   How to apply: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, resume and at least two references to NewsGuild President Bernie Lunzer  at  blunzer@cwa-union.org. Candidate should indicate whether the application is for the New York or DC position.