To the Members of the NewsGuild of New York:
My first three years as NewsGuild president have flown by, and while I am proud of all we have won for our members, we have even bigger plans for the next three years. That is why I’m running for re-election on the Members First Slate. That’s not just a slogan; it’s a philosophy that underlies everything we do.
In my first term, we began the hard work of breaking the old union mold and shattering the tradition of backing off in deference to management. When I was elected president in 2016, the Guild was stagnating, ineffective and archaic. Growth had leveled off and serving the membership had become an afterthought.
When I took office, I began an aggressive campaign to engage our members by demanding that our professional staff vacate our local office daily and spend significant time in our shops, re-activating our veteran supporters and cultivating new activists. In a short period of time, I hired talented and diverse staff members for key positions, increasing our professional team by 30 percent, and implemented innovative operating procedures and smarter technology to make the Local office run more smoothly and responsively.
We redesigned our website, logo, launched our member portal and built out our membership development program, which provided members with networking and professional skill-based classes. All these changes ultimately helped us organize 10 new shops over the past 18 months, including BuzzFeed, The New Republic, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Wirecutter and Ziff Davis. More than 650 new colleagues who were once at the mercy of their management are now protected by Guild membership. Together with dues collecting initiatives and greater engagement, the Guild grew by a total of 1000 new members.
The truth is, we needed a new model for the union: a younger, stronger, more diverse and progressive team. We started constructing that model, in the Local and at the shops, and we are continuing to recruit activists to join our committees and leadership. More input from a broader collection of leaders builds a more stable and representative foundation we can use as the basis for negotiating bolder contracts for our members.
Our status as a serious player in the labor movement has not gone unnoticed. The NewsGuild of New York was recognized for outstanding organizing efforts at CWA’s annual conference this past July and City & State Magazine recently named me to its Labor Power 100 list. We’ve also been featured several times in prominent local and national news publications.
Even during this historic growth, serving you, the members, never suffered — in fact, it vastly improved. In previous regimes, shops were assigned one local representative who was shared with a half a dozen units, and only a handful of them had the benefit of an attorney at the bargaining table. Now shops preparing or in bargaining have had as many as two local representatives, legal counsel, a communication director, a mobilizer and an organizer. We won strong contracts by providing unfettered access to our professional staff and attorneys as we mobilized all of you. And those resources are always available in times of negotiation or trouble.
Please note that many of our greatest victories are wins you will never hear about because the work we do behind the scenes is often confidential and we must protect the anonymity of the members who came to us for help.
In more public achievements, the NewsGuild has offered more than 50 workshops and networking events to help our members stay connected and develop professionally to ensure that you stay up to date with the changing media landscape. We are at the forefront of defending journalism at a time when our country’s president has declared open season on the media and when commercial forces are trying to twist the news business’s framework into unrecognizable shapes.
When those same pressures brought the threat of 200-plus layoffs to The New York Times, my team and I, along with the Times unit, organized a well-publicized walkout. The net result: only one layoff and several dozen buyouts.
In partnership with the units, we have done great things. In negotiations, we have secured enviable collective bargaining agreements in 15 units. Reuters workers were facing zero percent general wage increases until this administration came in and helped mobilize them and win 6.25 percent general raises over three years. We also successfully negotiated the first raise at the Jersey Journal in more than 10 years. We devoted serious financial resources to ensure that Law360 members achieved one of the best first contracts in the media industry. At The Times, we won a 2.5 percent signing bonus and 4 percent raises in 2018, and we recently secured increased benefits for participants in the health plan while reducing health care costs.
To say that the NewsGuild has been transformed is an understatement. We have not just been part of the movement; we have led the movement. You, our members, are no longer standing by as mere witnesses to negotiations bogged down by politicized arguing and bureaucratic red tape, negotiations in which givebacks have been all too common over the past several years. Now, you are going toe to toe with upper management and their union-busting attorneys. And you are winning.
It would be my honor and privilege to lead members into the next decade. But that choice is up to you. In the next few weeks you will be receiving your ballot in the mail. When you do, remember that your vote for Grant Glickson and the Members First Slate will help ensure that the NewsGuild of New York continues to succeed for you.
Join my slate in making our union stronger and more progressive than ever before, backed by my track record and a clear vision for the future of the Guild. I look forward to speaking with every one of you as I tour the units in the coming weeks to hear your concerns.
Yours in Solidarity,
HOW HAS GRANT GLICKSON & THE NEWSGUILD BEEN WORKING FOR YOU?
Defending Journalism During Critical Times
- Successfully negotiated 15 strong contracts in less than three years.
- Secured contract for Standard & Poor’s with no retrogressions.
We negotiated the first raise at the Jersey Journal in more than 10 years through an aggressive social media campaign that involved four staff members, including the president.
Reuters workers were facing zero percent general wage increases until this administration came in and helped mobilize them and win 6.25 percent general raises, plus the company’s annual discretionary, over three years.
We devoted serious financial resources to ensure that Law360 members achieved one of the best first contracts in the media industry.
At The New York Times, we won a 2.5 percent signing bonus and 4 percent raises in 2018, and we recently secured increased benefits for participants in the health plan while reducing health care costs.
- Jewish Telegraphic Agency members received a 1 percent ratification bonus; a 3.5 percent retro general wage increase retro to January 2018; and will receive 2.5 percent raise in 2020, along with a number of significant minimum scales increase to various job titles.
- Secured national & international TV, print, & digital news coverage for our work in defending journalism, including: New York Times walkout, Reuters contract dispute, and two features on the NewsGuild & our fight to protect journalism.
Organizing New Shops & Supporting ALL of Our Members
- Grew the Guild from 21 to 35 shops since 2017, adding over 650 new members through organizing and 1000 new members overall.
- Under Grant Glickson’s direction and approval of TNG-CWA leadership, our local played a major role in the successful organizing drive at the Los Angeles Times. This resounding victory was one of the most important drives our union has had in decades and set the stage for much of our organizing successes in our local and nationwide.
- Had a dozen successful organizing drives over the past two years, bringing in 1,000 new members from respected news organizations such Buzzfeed, The New Republic, New York Magazine and The New Yorker.
- Launched over 50 professional development workshops, networking events, and educational panels.
- Created new opportunities for solidarity building and member bonding, including “Lunch and Learn” shop meetings, sports outings, and successful holiday parties and mixers.
- Engaged members more than they have been in decades thanks in part to our staff expanding by 30 percent since our administration was elected.
- Spearheaded a pay gap study, resulting in increased pay equity at The New York Times.
- Developed aggressive public relations campaign to help secure raises for the Jersey Journal for the first time in over a decade, curb layoffs at the New York Times, and secure a new contract for Reuters.
- Hired four new staff members to help support the growing union, including a Communications Director, Local Reps, and an Organizer.
- Took steps to combat sexual harassment in the workplace including offering confidential reporting, assisting with filing harassment-related grievances, supporting members during a mediation, counseling about outside options members can take, or taking action through a campaign or other organizing effort to address harassment in the workplace.
PLAN TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD
Building Solidarity & Investing in YOU, Our Members
-Significantly grow participation in professional development workshops, networking events, and educational panels
– Create a comprehensive shop steward and leadership program that is regularly offered in all our shops
Bringing the NewsGuild Into the 21st Century
- Further developing the members portal on the new NewsGuild website
- Expanding live streaming for lecturers, courses and meetings
Supporting Our Growing Union
– Build our Membership Development Program with two staff members dedicated to increasing attendance for membership meetings, workshops, etc.
– Create scholarship funds for members seeking to further their education
“Do yourself, your colleagues, and The New York Times a favor. Go to the minor trouble of voting in the Guild election that’s coming up. Vote to make Grant Glickson the president of the NewsGuild. Young or old, veteran or newcomer, we all need to pay attention now to a part of our work life that many of us never give more than a few minutes of thought…”