Persistent mobilizing wins contracts, panel says

Persistence pays when it comes to mobilizing to get a contract, panel members said this weekend at a TriCouncil meeting of The Newspaper Guild held in Albany.

Guild leaders from Pittsburgh, Scholastic Magazine and the Associated Press all talked about their efforts to win contracts.

Delegates were especially impressed by the actions taken in Pittsburgh, where employees of the Post-Gazette had gone more than eight years without a pay raise.

“The power we had at the negotiating table was because of the mobilizing effort,” said Mike Fuoco of the Pittsburgh Guild. “When I said our members are not going to take this, they knew I wasn’t bull—-ing.”

But Guild leaders also cautioned against thinking one or two actions would make a change. Pittsburgh mobilized for more than a year, and it was that dedication and commitment to the effort that won an agreement.

“They don’t react to a mobilization,” said Lou Grieco, administrative officer of the Detroit Guild. “They react to the fear of more.”

Albany Guild leaders took note of the different methods that were used, and we expect to borrow some of those ideas. (That’s why we are holding off on the details.)

Also at the meeting, which drew 37 delegates from 14 locals, Guild International President Bernie Lunzer discussed a proposal to change the union’s name to the NewsGuild to reflect that members work at other news outlets in addition to newspapers. That change will be voted on at the union’s sector conference this January in Orlando, Florida.

Also planned for that conference is training and discussions on how to negotiate over advertising commissions and unrealistic sales goals, important issues in Albany.

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