There’s been a lot of talk about organizing during this campaign for president of The NewsGuild-CWA – much of it about who deserves the credit for our historic success.
Here’s the good news: We’ve been so successful that there’s plenty of credit to go around. Keep in mind, however, that it all took place under the leadership of Bernie Lunzer, who had the vision to see this was possible and the ability to get the resources to make it happen.
Information distributed to members over the past four years show that TNG has organized or achieved first contracts for 55 new workplaces since mid-2015, providing Guild representation to nearly 3,000 employees.
Despite this, Bernie’s opponent in the race suggests that TNG “can no longer take a passive approach to organizing.”
While the opponent claims that the victory at the Los Angeles Times “triggered a wave of successful organizing,” more than half of those shops — 32 workplaces covering 1,230 employees — were organized before the Los Angeles Times joined TNG’s ranks.
This success was achieved precisely because TNG has taken an increasingly aggressive approach to organizing over the past four years.
During this time, the Guild has secured more than $2.8 million in Strategic Industry Fund budgets dedicated specifically to organizing. Using that money, we have been able to hire six full-time organizers. This includes the person TNG hired to work for the Los Angeles group, a full-time employee dedicated specifically to helping those new members build their local.
Strategic Industry Fund money also provides legal counsel during organizing, throughout the NLRB certification process and during first contract negotiations. That money has also been used to help new groups develop websites, visual brandings and logos. It also purchases a variety of items displaying those logos for use by the new members. These things are all available now, but the opponent inaccurately suggests they would become available only if he’s elected.
Our local organizers, including those at the Los Angeles Times, have done a great job of staying unified and standing up for their workplace rights. And they have generously shared their knowledge with the next group that wants to gain workplace rights by joining the Guild.
Undoubtedly, the Guild has struggled to build membership in a climate where newsroom employment declined by 45 percent between 2008 and 2017. Comparatively, TNG’s membership declined 27 percent between 2008 and 2018.
That is a testament to the combined effect of strong contracts that protect Guild jobs and the aggressive organizing that has added to Guild numbers in recent years.
The time, money and staff resources dedicated to the recent wave of organizing simply belie the characterization that this has been a passive approach to organizing.
The NewsGuild-CWA Executive Vice President
Pew Research Center, 7/30/18