Executive Committee Nominations

Oct 3, 2015 by

Wednesday, October 21, Local 36047 will have two local nomination meetings – at noon and 6:00 p.m. – in the Guild office (1015 Locust St, suite 735) for all Executive Committee positions.  The positions are three-year terms and will run from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2018.

It is easy to place one’s name in nomination.  Simply show up and nominate someone.  If they’re not there to accept the nomination, have their signed acceptance with you.  Or, if you can’t make it over, simply call the office during the meeting (314-241-7046) and we’ll have someone do it for you (we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate; however, we’ll then also have to check with the nominee to confirm that he or she is interested in running).

Once nominations are closed, if there are more nominees than positions, the local will conduct an election by mail in the month of November.  Officers and delegates will be sworn in at our first meeting of the new year.

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UMG hosts retiree/alumni luncheon Oct. 27

Sep 29, 2015 by

All retirees and alumni of the United Media Guild are invited to a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 27 at Lombardo’s Trattoria,  201 S. 20th Street in downtown St. Louis, next to Union Station.

The luncheon is free for retirees and alumni of UMG units. The charge for guests is $15. Please RSVP the UMG office at 314-241-7046 by Oct. 21 if you plan on attending.

Lombardo’s offers free parking in the Drury Inn parking garage behind the building.

This is our opportunity to thank the people who helped build the UMG into one of the strongest local unions in The NewsGuild.

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UMG campaign against GateHouse Media intensifies

Sep 13, 2015 by

The United Media Guild’s public campaign on behalf of State Journal-Register members is continuing on multiple fronts.

The UMG has been negotiating a first contract at the newspaper for three years. Many veteran journalists at the newspapers have gone eight years without a raise. In its latest offer, GateHouse Media essentially offered a pay cut — since its offer included no raises and increased health insurance costs that would far outstrip the modest signing bonuses.

So the battle continues. Once again our members manned an informational table at the Illinois State Fair. They chatted with hundreds of disgruntled readers of the State Journal-Register and other newspapers that suffered drastic cutbacks under GateHouse ownership.


Many of those visiting our tables had heard our radio advertisements that played on several Springfield stations earlier this year.

UMG business representative Shannon Duffy started meeting with major SJ-R advertisers in Springfield to explain what has happened to the newspaper under GateHouse ownership.

Earlier the National Labor Relations Board found merit in our Unfair Labor Practice charges against the State Journal-Register and GateHouse Media. Company managers (among other things) videoed our members during an informational demonstration outside of the newspaper building — which is a protected act under the law. An investigation by the NLRB verified our complaints of unlawful surveillance of employees and creating an atmosphere of surveillance in the workplace. The company accepted this finding without appeal. It will post notice of its NLRB violations in three places in the building.

On another front, officials from 10 major unions and labor organizations — including the Illinois Education Association, AFSCME Council 31, the Illinois AFL-CIO and police and firefighter unions — wrote a letter to the editors of The State Journal-Register and Illinois Times calling on GateHouse to work out a fair contract covering Guild members in the SJ-R newsroom in Springfield.

The UMG thanks these labor leaders for supporting good journalism as an essential component of a stable democracy. This show of support is bound to ripple throughout the community, and it should be a strong indication to GateHouse Media officials in New York that the general public values quality journalism in the capital city. Readers of the paper far and wide don’t want to see GateHouse siphon the lifeblood from the The State Journal-Register in the name of profit. Readers already have seen printing of the paper outsourced to Peoria and page design outsourced to Texas while a steady stream of talented staffers either left the paper or were shown the door.

Readers want to see profits generated by the SJ-R’s remaining hard-working employees spent on more than lavish bonuses for top GateHouse officials and the acquisition of more newspapers. A good first contract with newsroom employees would bring stability for workers and readers alike.

Here is that letter:

Since Abraham Lincoln’s time, Springfield residents have relied on local newspapers to provide information and insight about local and state matters.

Because Springfield is home to state office holders and their staffs, these newspapers had substantial influence on the debate of issues affecting all Illinoisans.

The State Journal-Register (SJR) is the last daily paper standing in Mr. Lincoln’s hometown and it is crucial the SJR remain viable, employing first-rate journalists and presenting high quality news and analysis.

To achieve that goal, there must be a fair settlement of the contract between Gatehouse Media, owner of the State Journal-Register, and newsroom employees represented by the United Media Guild.

For more than three years, the employees have been trying to negotiate a contract to allow the SJR to continue to publish a high quality newspaper and, over time, boost circulation to the point that reporter positions eliminated since Gatehouse bought the paper can be restored.

Many of these employees have logged decades of service to the SJR and its readers, remaining loyal despite Gatehouse’s elimination of the copy desk and other important newsroom positions.

We urge everyone who believes a great city deserves a great daily newspaper to call the publisher and insist that the SJR negotiate a fair contract with the newsroom employees.

You can reach Publisher Clarissa Williams at (217) 788-1326.

Finally, our members will once again have a strong presence at Springfield’s Labor Day Parade. Last year UMG’s Springfield unit served as Grand Marshal of the parade.

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UMG active in multiple cities at the same time (it’s a Labor Day miracle!)

Sep 3, 2015 by

Labor Day is almost here and union members are busy making plans to turn out and march in a parade or perhaps attend some sort of festive activity.  Members of the United Media Guild are no exception; come Monday, UMG members will be getting it done in seven different cities (and that doesn’t even include our Truthout and Show Me 15 brothers and sisters – they’re all over the map!).

Here in St. Louis, where our awesome Faith & Labor Coalition leads the march every year now, the parade starts at 9:00 a.m.  Also every year, we march as part of the CWA City Council, alongside all our CWA brothers and sisters.  This year, CWA is the 12th entry, so we’ll be up close to the front.  We line up at Olive and 20th Street, members can start arriving after 7:00 a.m. By the way, the first 150 individuals to show up will receive a free T-shirt, so plan to get there early!  Following the parade, hot dogs and beverages will be served.

A few clicks north, in Springfield, IL, the UMG banner will once again be hoisted by State Journal members (that bargaining unit was last years grand marshal, btw).  This year, the parade begins at 10:00 a.m. and members will gather at 8:30 a.m. in the Horace Mann parking lot between Washington and Jefferson.  Unit Chair Dean Olsen says, ” Please make sure to wear your bright yellow-green Guild shirts and good walking shoes. We will distribute literature and candy during the parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and will last about an hour. Afterward, we will go to a local restaurant for pizza.”

Further north in Rockford, our Register Star members will meet between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. at 7th Street and 6th Avenue. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and the route is less than a mile. You can park in the BMO bank lot.

Unit Vice-Chair Brian Leaf reports that, “After the walk we will get something to eat. Last year it was at Stockholm Inn.”

Leaf added, “We’re negotiating our first contract and we will probably need support from other area unions as we get closer to a deal. So we need to be visible.  This is a great way to let other locals know we have a bargaining unit, should we need help convincing the company that we deserve raises.  So come out and walk to support quality journalism, wave and toss candy gently to kids (a bit harder to unruly sources).”

Pekin, IL has no labor Day Parade but just across the river, in Peoria, the parade starts at 10:00 a.m.  Marchers will meet at the Peoria Fire Department, 505 NE Monroe Street at 8:30am.  The parade is from 10a to 11a and will parade feature over 100 entries of various unions.  Following the parade there’s a picnic at Riverfront Festival Park, 202 NE Water Street.

Over in Kansas City, MO there will be no Labor Day festivities (don’t ask – seriously, don’t ask) so, without any geographical constraints, our Jobs with Justice folk will be agitating and causing trouble all over town (they’re a rowdy bunch).

Meanwhile, our Workers Interfaith Network (WIN) members down in Memphis, TN (those hardworking folks who fight for social justice, particularly in the immigrant community) are putting on a Faith & Labor Picnic.  It runs from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1738 Galloway, in Midtown.  There’s music, food, and games – bring the spousal unit and the kids – it’s fun for the whole family!

So Happy Labor Day everyone!  Hope you have a great weekend and maybe we’ll see you Monday!



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We’ve come a long way

Sep 3, 2015 by

Selections from Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg about child labor.

They Will Say

Of my city the worst that men will ever say is this:
You took little children away from the sun and the dew,
And the glimmers that played in the grass under the great sky,
And the reckless rain; you put them between walls
To work, broken and smothered, for bread and wages,
To eat dust in their throats and die empty-hearted
For a little handful of pay on a few Saturday nights.


You never come back.
I say good-by when I see you going in the doors,
The hopeless open doors that call and wait
And take you then for – how many cents a day?
How many cents for the sleepy eyes and fingers?

I say good-by because I know they tap your wrists,
In the dark, in the silence, day by day
And all the blood of you drop by drop,
And you are old before you are young.
You never come back.
Anna Imroth

Cross the hands over the breast here – so.
Straighten the leg a little more – so.
And call for the wagon to come and take her home.
Her mother will cry some and so will her sisters and brothers.
But all of the others got down and they are safe and this is the only
One of the factory girls who wasn’t lucky in making the jump
When the fire broke
It is the hand of God and the lack of fire escapes.



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A message from Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO:

Sep 3, 2015 by

We’re asking people to support the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules because they will give working people—particularly women, youth and people of color—more time and money to care for their families. There’s one more week before the comment period ends.
Because these overtime rules will make 36% of working women eligible for overtime pay, and as a woman myself, I’m asking you to take a second right now to leave a comment for the Labor Department.
Click here now to tell the Labor Department you support strengthening overtime protections.

You can help America’s workers get the overtime pay they deserve with a simple comment supporting the new rules. We owe it to working families to make this right.
Add your comment now to let the Labor Department know how important it is to you that we strengthen overtime protections for working people.
In solidarity,

Liz Shuler
Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO

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Post-Dispatch unit ratifies contract extension

Aug 18, 2015 by

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 increases to the pay scale by:

2 percent on Dec. 27, 2015.
2 percent on Dec. 26, 2016.
2 percent on Dec. 25, 2017.

On Dec. 27, 2015, “commission only” sales reps will become “base plus commission” and receive $625 per week in base pay.

On that date, “base plus commission” sales reps will receive $575 per week in base pay will get an increase to $625 per week.

On that date, “base plus commission” sales reps will receive $673 per week in base pay will get an increase to $721 per week.

Severance pay for involuntary lay-offs will remain the same as in the current contract. That is a critical protection for our long-time members, especially those in areas already decimated by lay-offs.

Maximum severance for voluntary layoffs — those stepping up to save the jobs of others — will be capped at 39 weeks effective 9/28/2015. On 9/26.2016, the voluntary layoff pay will be capped at 26 weeks.

These changes reduces the incentive for long-time employees to step up and take lay-offs in place of shorter-term employees. But the group of employees eligible for up to 66 weeks of severance in the expiring contract has shrunk by one-third this summer.

Managers can exempt employees at the low end of our seniority list from lay-off. Effective 9/28/2015, the company can exempt from layoffs up to 20 employees in any department or classification regardless of seniority.

But that number can’t exceed 15 percent of the Guild membership as of Jan. 1 of the applicable calendar year. In any classification where an employee is exempted, employees in the top 25 percent in seniority in that classification (rounded up) shall by protected from layoff for the life of the exemption.

On Dec. 27, 2015, the employee share of medical premiums would increase from 25 to 30 percent. But the total medical premium will be frozen in 2016 and 2017.

The net result will be an increase in medical premiums through 2017 ranging from slightly more than $10 per pay period to slightly more than $40 per period depending on the medical plan.

Those increases could offset the raises in the first year of the contract for some members, depending on their plan. In the second year of the contract, premiums will remain the same so our members will realize the full impact of the raise.

In the third year of the contract, medical premiums could increase again.

The Post-Dispatch unit also voted overwhelmingly to maintain the current 401K language, which includes a flat monthly contribution of $75. Our members had the option of switching to the company plan for non-represented employees, which currently matches 40 percent of the first 5 percent of the employee contribution.

But the company would have retained the right to modify or eliminate that matching contribution at any point during this contract. UMG would have waived the right to negotiate or grieve changes to the 401K match.

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Post-Dispatch contract ratification vote

Aug 14, 2015 by

Post-Dispatch Contract Ratification Meeting
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Post-Dispatch Building, Conference Room 206

The meeting will start at noon and your Guild staff, Local president and PD unit chair will be on hand to discuss what occurred during the bargaining process and the proposed changes that were agreed to by the parties will be explained.

A summation of the proposed changes are currently being circulated (if you need one, ask your Guild steward) and copies will be available at the meetings.

Following the explanation of changes, there will be a question and answer period and each member will have a chance to ask for clarification or any other questions they may have.

After the changes have been explained, voting will commence. The vote will be conducted by secret ballot and tellers will be on hand to conduct the election.

Another meeting will start at 3:00 p.m. and, again, there will be an explanation of the proposed changes, followed by a question and answer period and then more voting.

The polls will remain open until 6:00 p.m.

To make the best decision possible, everyone is encouraged to attend one of the meetings, listen to the summation, ask questions and fully acquaint themselves with the proposed contract prior to casting their ballot.

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