NABET/CWA Local 42 General Membership Meeting “Keep Fighting Until Justice is Served”

October 16, 2010

The meeting was called to order by NABET/CWA Local 42 President Bill Wachenschwanz at 12:55 PM.  Bill welcomed all forty-eight Members, Retirees and Guests present and invited them to prepare questions for NABET/CWA Sector President, Jim Joyce, who will address the Members later in the meeting.

Bill took a moment to review the past year, our finances and the general state of our Local.  Local 42 faced a C.A.P. Audit by the Department of Labor this summer. All of our meeting minutes, financial reports and receipts were checked and audited for accuracy. Bill was pleased to report that Local 42 came out very well and thanked Treasurer, Marilyn Oliver and Secretary, Nancy Tatulinski, for their meticulous record keeping which helped to expedite the audit process.

Bill said that financially we are,” sound, not lush, but secure”, despite the hits to the budget with lay-offs, buy outs and retirements in the past year.  Over the past two years, we lost 100 Members and now have 231 Members in our Local. We are spending resources on legal fees for various charges we have pending before the Labor Board regarding disputes at WKYC, as well as grievances at WOIO/WUAB and WJW.  Bill affirmed the Executive Boards’ position that we must fight hard to uphold our collective Bargaining Agreements. Bill said we must, “Stick together. The way one goes, so go the others.”  Bill then began a synopsis of the past year at each of the stations.

The tough times are continuing at WKYC where our Sisters and Brothers have taken pay reductions, changes in schedules and working conditions and now, cancellation of dues-check-off from management.  Bill asks Attorney Chuck DeGross to up-date  the Membership on the status of charges that have been filed on behalf of our Members at WKYC. Chuck explains the actions that have been taken to date, including grievances that have been filed, appeals to the NLRB, and EEOC filings.  He also clarifies deadline dates for certain filings and explains legal terms for specific circumstances.  Members had many questions to discuss with Chuck, so Bill set up a meeting for them with

Mr. DeGross at the conclusion of today’s General Membership Meeting.

Bill talked about several continuing issues at the other stations such as the use of MMJ’s , ingest grievances and issues regarding technology and servers. A bright spot was that WJW- News Unit did reach agreement on a one year extension to their CBA that included a 1% raise.

Bill said that a Holiday Party to be held in January 2011 will be discussed at the next E-Board Meeting (November 20th, 2010 at 11am at the Union Hall).  As always, Members are welcome and encouraged to attend the Executive Board Meetings.  Bill concluded by stating that Local 42 is run efficiently and is fiscally sound.  He thanked the Members for the opportunity to serve the Local and said he “Still believes” in our cause.

Vice President Jim Kolendo addressed the Membership and talked about Lynda.com, the on-line training program available for Union Members FREE of charge.  Jim said that the Lynda.com program has grown in the past three years and now 838 courses are available for study on a wide range of topics from edit systems, Photo Shop, and After Effects to designing I-Phone apps. Completion certificates are available on many courses.  Jim invites all Members to contact him with their name, address, valid e-mail address and station call letters.  The Members will then be added to the Locals’ queue of Members ready to participate in this valuable on-line training program.

Bill Wachenschwanz introduces NABET/CWA Sector President, Jim Joyce, special guest speaker for this General Membership Meeting.

Sector President Joyce greets the Members and compliments Bill and the Executive Board by saying that Local 42 is one of the best Locals nationally!  Jim Joyce shares his 30 year history in NABET beginning in New York at Local 16 where he was the Local Vice President.  Jim worked for ABC as a TD in the HD net release area for daytime programming for the West Coast.  In 2002, Jim was elected Sector Vice President and Chair of the Task Force on Technology and Training.  This year, Jim was elected Sector President to finish the term of John Clark, who retired.

Jim stated that he believes training is one of NABET/CWA’s proudest values to our Members. He said that companies are using technology to move work away from Union Members; in response to that tactic, Local 16 partnered with IBEW to form Broadcast Unions Resource for Specialized Training or “BURST”.  BURST pooled resources to effectively schedule training for Members on Avid edit systems. They created their own mobile Avid lab with ten laptops that traveled the country. CBS editor, Jim Talluto, took his personal vacation time to travel with the Avid lab and teach Members how to edit. The CWA-NET Academy came to Locals, including here to Cleveland, to train our Members and help us better compete in the marketplace.  Now, a Final Cut Pro lab has been created, ten Apple Laptops and training manuals have been purchased and Members proficient in FCP have stepped up to continue the training process. Hundreds of Members across the country have been trained.

President Jim Joyce talks about Collective Bargaining Nationally. Two years ago NABET/CWA began negotiating a successor agreement CBA with NBC. It was supposed to be,” Limited Issue Bargaining”, on a contract that was not set to expire until 3/21/2009.  Before negotiations started, NBC started “Content Centers”, so jobs that had been titled  “News Writers” and “Photographers” were no longer in existence; they were now called “Content Producers”.  NBC was altering the Seniority System, limiting the right to sue on EEOC complaints and proposing insufficient wage compensation. Grievances had been filed and the Labor Board has now issued complaints against NBC in these matters.  Complaints were also issued that the employer had no intent to reach agreement.  The Union will be meeting with NBC later this week.

NABET/CWA is carefully watching the conditions of the Comcast merger. This is a precarious situation that merits close monitoring due to the nature of the merger; not only can the new company restrict the content of what is put through the system, they have the ability to  restrict delivery options and effectively diminish free speech!

Jim spoke passionately about the CNN verdict that came in 2008 from an Administrative Law Judge in favor of NABET/CWA.  CNN, through a company called “Team Video”, changed work conditions; a trial took place over sixty hearing dates and the Judge found in November 2008, that CNN was guilty of obstructing justice in this case.  The case has not yet been heard in front of the full NLRB, but motions have been filed to give this case priority above all others.  Back pay will be above 200 Million dollars in this instance.

Jim Joyce shared the news from ABC-San Diego, a Local with 45-50 Members, that had a recent victory in their bargaining negotiations.  The company had fired the Local President, taken away the Unions’ space at the station and was actively intimidating Members. The Union Members Mobilized and contacted political advertisers. No worker-friendly candidates are placing their ads on the station during this campaign season.  Barbara Boxer pulled a one-half Million dollar buy off the station due to the company’s treatment of the Union workers. This underscores the need to represent ourselves in the workplace. Mobilization IS effective!

Jim talks about the newly revamped NABET/CWA web site and encourages all Members to take a look at it and utilize its valuable resources. You can go to NABET/CWA.org and check it out. Also, in an effort to improve communications within our organization, a weekly electronic newsletter called “Signal” has been created.  Please contact Bill with your e-mail address if you are interested in receiving this informative e-publication.

President Joyce briefly explains to the Members what SIF is and how it works. In short, the strike fund, which was originally called the “Members Relief Fund”, has money available for projects such as Mobilization and Organizing.  A portion of this fund will be used for Organizing-Training here in Cleveland on December 3rd thru 5th. This will be training on how to organize JUST for the Media Industry. It is vitally important to bolster our numbers. Applications are available. Please see Bill Wachenschwanz if you are interested.

The Sector recently sponsored an Activist Training Workshop at the Meany Center in Maryland.  Ken Koscick (WOIO/WUAB) and Terry Mullally (WJW-ENG) attended.

Both Terry and Ken said what a valuable experience the workshop turned out to be and encouraged other Members to go to future events. Mobilization training will be coming up in Detroit. You are encouraged to contact Bill if you would like more information. Jim Kolendo will be going to this training led by Staff  Rep, Carrie Biggs-Adams.

Jim Joyce said he will return to DC and speak with the Newspaper Guild President to see if SIF money can be used for a cooperative action aimed at Gannett Corporation.  Jim concluded his presentation with a re-cap of issues and upcoming events such as News Sharing and Anti-Trust Violations, the FCC Quadrennial Ownership Review, and the National Media Reform Conference in Boston in April 2011. The floor was then opened to questions from the Members

Questions included:

Q: Have there been any good negotiations?

A: Yes! WIVB-TV in Buffalo got a contract when the Members stood tough and mobilized. WCCO-TV in Minneapolis got a contract and Cincinnati got a decent deal. Local 11 in New York has 12 contracts.

Q: Can we have lawyers at the bargaining table on “our side”?

A: We look at this on a case-by-case basis.  Jim has formed a National Bargaining Committee to look into this issue to find out how to best utilize resources for our Members.

Jim strongly urges Members to really look at candidates in this election season. He stresses not to only look at party affiliation, but to check the candidates voting record on issues that are important to you and your interests.

Jim finalized by quoting CWA President Larry Cohen,” We know things are hard. We have done hard before. We must keep fighting until justice is served.”

The meeting ended at 3:15PM.  WKYC Members convened in the conference room to meet with Chuck DeGross while the balance of Members gathered in small groups to socialize and enjoy the refreshments provided.

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