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Guild Newsletter: A call for Guild stewards, Promoting gender and cultural awareness, Congratulations to colleagues, and more

A message from the President

I first want to apologize for being woefully behind on regular newsletters.

The last few months got away from all of us with holidays and even more changes at the Times Union, but I think we’ve started 2020 off on the right foot.

The recent visit by international NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss has got me invigorated, and I hope it did the same for all of you. While both the international Guild as well as our local are in a time of flux, Jon brings a refreshing, positive perspective to unionizing in newsrooms across the country. With the latest announcement of changes in leadership in the editorial department, I am encouraged that we all will be on the same page in working together to make the Times Union the best it can be. This also means ensuring every employee has a seat at the table.

As the Guild’s Executive Board continues to hear from members about their concerns and issues, we are devising strategies that best tackle core issues that many of you all face. That also means utilizing the talent and expertise of all members across Times Union departments to come up with solutions and improve the workplace.

This leads me into our call for Guild stewards — point people for the Guild’s Executive Board to further reach all members across departments. A Guild best works when we work together to find solutions, and that means each of you have a part to play and skills to bring to the table. Every day you all amaze me with the perspectives, experiences and ideas that you bring to the Guild, and there’s certainly a want for change that can only happen with all of your help. As we dive into 2020, don’t forget we’re all on the same team and the best way forward is to work together. I’m excited about our forward momentum and I hope you all are, too!

Yours in solidarity,

Amanda Fries
President, Albany Newspaper Guild


Promoting gender and cultural awareness

Management and the Guild are working together to develop in-person training to tackle sexual harassment and cultural awareness.

Following the fall of a prominent open government official, Bob Freeman, whom journalists throughout New York have had interactions with, the Guild has requested in-person sexual harassment training for all employees. The Company is seeking member input on what kind of training we would like to see.

If you have ideas or suggestions on training that will improve staff awareness of gender, sexual orientation, race and culture, please reach out to the Guild Executive Board. We will be providing suggestions to management to help guide them in providing the additional training that will help make the Times Union workplace welcoming and comfortable for all employees.

This is part of a larger push by the Guild to urge the Times Union to ensure equity in the workplace and secure additional protections for all members.


Congratulations to colleagues on leadership appointments

We start the 2020 year off with new faces in leadership positions in the editorial department with the appointment of Casey Seiler to editor and vice-president of the Times Union along with Gary Hahn and Susan Mehalick to managing editors posts in the newsroom. Brendan Lyons, who once was part of the Guild before being promoted to management, was promoted to senior editor.

The Guild is excited to see new people take on leadership positions as the Times Union embarks on an ambitious digital subscriber goal and enhances its digital presence with readers.

Guild members look forward to working with all those in leadership roles to make the Capital Region’s newspaper the best it can be.


Show Guild solidarity with mugs and red shirts

Some of you might have noticed the growing number of red shirts draped over chairs throughout the Times Union building.

You too can show management that we are all united in our fight to protect and expand protections for workers at the Times Union. If you have not already received a Guild coffee mug or red t-shirt, be sure to contact a Guild Executive Board member to join us in our quiet show of solidarity.


Become a Guild steward

Do co-workers often ask you for advice and guidance throughout the workday?

The Guild is looking for boots on the ground members to be the eyes and ears for their co-workers as we expand our reach this year.

We are currently working with international Guild representatives to broaden our reach, and the best way to do so is to band together. This is an opportunity for you to connect with your colleagues and let them know what’s happening on the Guild level as well as ensure concerns from your fellow co-workers are being heard.

If you are interested in learning more about what being a steward involves, please reach out to office@albanyguild.org and an Executive Board member will be in touch.


Hearst Magazines continue to fight for union recognition

Our brothers and sisters at multiple Hearst-owned magazines have come face-to-face with the reality of the corporate’s anti-union stance.

The Hearst Magazines Media Union has been fighting to gain recognition, with the corporation using the typical anti-union tactics to scare employees from being supportive of unionizing.

While our parent company continues to fight against its employees rather than meeting at the table to negotiate fair rights for all its workers, the Albany Newspaper Guild stands in solidarity with Hearst Magazines. We are all too familiar with these tactics and won’t be fooled by efforts to divide us.

We also must be prepared for the company to fight back against our local efforts, but don’t let that discourage you. The Guild believes in working with all parties to come to fair and equitable working conditions. As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”

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