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The Guild is Looking for a Few Good Stewards

29 Nov

A ONE DAY training session for current union stewards and those who would like to become a steward is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Communication Workers of America District 7 office at 8085 E. Prentice Ave. in Greenwood Village (I-25 and Belleview Avenue). Lost-time pay will be available for anyone wishing to attend the training.

If you are interested in attending, please contact the Denver Newspaper Guild office at 303-595-9818 or dng@denvernewspaperguild.org by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

From the FAQs section of the DNG website:

What is a Steward?
Stewards are employees who volunteer their help to make sure the contract is followed. They do this by answering your questions, helping you find solutions to problems and representing you in meetings with your managers. Wondering what your rights and responsibilities are? Check with a steward. They should be your first contact if you have a problem on the job.

When Should I Ask a Steward to Represent Me?
You have the right to have a steward present at any meeting that could affect your relationship with the company — whether it is a disciplinary meeting or not. If a manager asks to speak with you in private, ask a steward to go with you. Why? Not because you can’t stand up for yourself, but because a steward standing beside you makes you a stronger employee, one who won’t be taken advantage of, intimidated, or treated inappropriately. A steward also can help you and your manager work out solutions to problems. Managers know you have the right to a steward, and cannot prevent you from exercising that right. You will find that encounters with managers are far more fair and productive when a steward is present. If you go into a manager’s office alone, it’s your word against theirs if any information from that meeting sparks an issue.

For more information on union stewards, click here.

Reduction In Dues To Be Voted Upon

30 Aug

IN THE AUGUST Denver Newspaper Guild Representative Council meeting, delegates decided to propose a reduction in union dues if contracts with expanded union shop requirements are ratified by the non-newsroom and newsroom bargaining units.

Several years ago, The Newspaper Guild (TNG) added a requirement of a monthly contribution to the national union’s defense fund to be paid by local unions on behalf of each member. Members of The Denver Newspaper Guild voted to increase dues by a small amount to cover that expense. Dues were increased from 1.3846 percent of pay, the minimum dues required in the TNG Constitution, to 1.4423 percent, the current dues rate.

The tentative agreement for the non-newsroom bargaining unit includes a requirement that everyone covered by the agreement except outside sale staff must become members of the union or pay fees equivalent to dues. A full union shop has also been tentatively agreed to for the newsroom bargaining unit. These changes will increase dues income received by the union.

Since the union’s income will increase if the tentative agreements are adopted, the Representative Council believes all members can pay a little bit less. So the Council proposes to reduce dues to the minimum required in the TNG Constitution. The Denver Newspaper Guild Bylaws require a vote at a membership meeting to change the rate of dues. If the contracts are ratified, a dues reduction will be voted upon at the October General Membership meeting.

Below are examples of current dues compared to the proposed reduced dues rate:

Weekly Pay Current Monthly Dues Reduced Monthly Dues
$600.00 $37.50 $36.00
$800.00 $50.00 $48.00
$1,000.00 $62.50 $60.00
$1,200.00 $75.00 $72.00

 

Guild Statement On Newsroom Layoffs

30 Apr

WE AT THE DENVER NEWSPAPER GUILD consider ourselves partners with Denver Post management in the effort to position the newsroom and the company to thrive in the new media environment. However, we disagree in the strongest possible terms with the company’s decision to lay off two-thirds of the paper’s copy editors. We feel it is a shortsighted cost-cutting measure that will irreparably damage The Denver Post.

A news organization serves a vital public role and must be viewed through a more complex lens than one that reduces the operation to just a bottom-line figure. For generations, professional editors represented by the Guild have helped make The Denver Post a trusted news source. This decision by the company could very well erode that hard-earned trust.

The media landscape continues to shift as new technologies demand new business strategies, but one thing must remain constant during this transition period: credibility. We understand the company needs flexibility to make decisions quickly, and we have afforded the company that flexibility with a labor agreement that allows the company to change newsroom operations and reduce the workforce. However, the Guild has serious doubts that the decision by management to slash the ranks of copy editors will result in a more efficient newsgathering process. Instead, we believe it will result in a loss of credibility as more mistakes and errors appear in print and online.

The Denver Post’s reputation is at stake.

The Guild will continue to advocate on behalf of not only Denver Post staff, but Denver Post readers.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

More Layoffs Hit The Denver Post

26 Mar

ON MARCH 23, Denver Post management announced the elimination of 11 more positions.

Five metro home delivery districts will be eliminated resulting in the layoff of five district managers and five assistant district managers. The two-week window for volunteers in those positions to resign or retire with severance ends April 6

The effective dates of voluntary resignations or layoffs will be spread out. They will occur on April 23, May 21 and June 18 as the districts are eliminated.

The company also announced it is eliminating the Viva photographer position.

Newsroom Layoffs At The Denver Post

21 Mar

AS YOU KNOW, yesterday three people in the newsroom were laid off. The layoffs were a business decision made by Denver Post management and were conducted according to the contract. Also, 11 people have been laid off in non-newsroom positions over the last couple of weeks, and more layoffs are expected there.

We wish them all the best.

The last layoffs in the newsroom were conducted in the early 1980s.

If you have questions, please talk to a Guild representative.

Michael Roberts at Westword wrote a piece on it — Penny Parker, Mike Littwin laid off at Denver Post: More changes coming? — and ColoradoPols.com has More Layoffs Hit Declining Denver Post. Bear in mind that neither source has any insight into Denver Post management decisions.

Leave a comment below, if you’d like.

Update: A fourth person, part time copy editor Lorrie Guttman, was laid off yesterday as well.

Benefit Concert For Andrea Briggs April 4

5 Mar

A BENEFIT CONCERT for former Denver Post reporter Bill Briggs’ daughter, Andrea, who is recovering from a serious auto accident, will be staged at the Mercury Cafe on April 4 at 7 p.m.

It will feature Johnny Hickman, lead guitar player and co-founder of the band Cracker. Denver musician Olivia Rudeen, daughter of former Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post editor Mike Rudeen, will open the concert.

Full details on the concert, and reports of Andrea’s progress, are at andreaswayback.com.

To read an earlier post about Andrea, click here.

— Jeff Leib

Forklift Catches Fire At Denver Post Printing Facility

1 Mar

North Washington Fire Protection District firefighters respond to a fire at the Denver Post's printing facility on North Washington Street in Denver on March 1 | Photos by Tom Peterson

YOU MAY HAVE heard there was a bit of a hubbub at the Denver Post printing facility this morning. Guild member Tom Peterson was there and sent along a brief report, as well as a couple of photos he snapped on his phone after workers were evacuated:

At 11 a.m. this morning we had some excitement at The Denver Post Washington Street printing facility. A forklift caught on fire and exploded in our paper warehouse.

No one was hurt. The forklift operator left the forklift and a fire alarm pull station was activated. The facility was immediately evacuated and no one was allowed to go back in until areas were clear and safe.

Post reporter Jordan Steffen filed a brief story about it.

Jeff Leib: A Note About Bill Briggs And His Family

19 Jan

FRIENDS OF FORMER Denver Post writer and Guild member Bill Briggs may want to visit the website andreaswayback.com to learn of the heroic effort Bill’s daughter, Andrea, is making recovering from a very serious auto accident in Denver last July.

The 20-year-old was a passenger in a car that was broadsided by another vehicle. Andrea suffered multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Her courageous battle to recover is beautifully chronicled on the website by Bill — who always was one of The Post’s best writers — and by Andrea’s mom and Bill’s ex-wife, Lorrie, and Bill’s current wife, Nancy.

The three are Andrea’s primary caregivers today and their posts are very moving.  Team Andrea, as they’re known, also offers a way for friends, family and former colleagues to contribute to Andrea’s Way Back by funding a portion of her much-needed therapy.

If you have a chance, check out andreaswayback.com.

Thanks,
Jeff Leib

Come On In — The Water’s Fine

29 Dec

WELCOME TO THE new Denver Newspaper Guild website. Our goal is to create a dynamic site that we can use to communicate useful information, as well as create an online community to foster ideas and discussion among Guild members.

With contract negotiations coming up, this is the forum Tony Mulligan and members of the Bargaining Committee will use to keep Guild members updated on how talks are progressing.

I would encourage you to leave comments on posts to make your opinions known, to express ideas or just to offer up support. If you would like to write something longer for inclusion on the site, just give us a holler.

There are a few things I’d like to point out:

  • We Are The Guild is a way we can all get to know each other a little better — it’s just a brief Q&A and a photo. Click here for an example (I’m the guinea pig); the questionnaire is here. Go ahead and fill one out while you’re thinking about it.
  • The Grapevine is random collection of stories about MediaNews Group and Digital First gathered from around the Internet. There is no rhyme or reason to its organization; when I find something of interest, I’ll post it. These juicy bits will be categorized under The Grapevine. Feel free to add to The Grapevine by posting links in the comment section or emailing me.
  • Take a minute to read Tony Mulligan’s post about the restoration of some wage concessions, and vote in the poll about what should be restored first.
  • Be sure to check out Thomas McKay’s Newsroom Guild Update.
  • Take a minute to vote in the poll about how you think you’ll fare in the upcoming contract negotiations.

As for keeping up with new posts on the website, there are a couple of ways to do that without actually visiting the site:

  • Click  the “Follow” button down in the bottom right corner of the site to get new posts emailed to you
  • Click the “RSS” button in the menu at the top of the page to subscribe to the site’s RSS feed

Also, the website is mobile friendly, so check us out on your phone.

The Denver Newspaper Guild also maintains a Facebook page, so please “like” us to receive updates from that.

So, welcome — come on in and take a look around. This website is very much a work in progress as we figure out how to best use it to communicate with Guild members, so feel free to offer up suggestions and criticisms — I’d like to hear from you. You can email me at hamm.kevin@gmail.com.

Until next time,

Kevin Hamm
Representative Council