I strongly urge TNG-CWA members to re-elect Bernie Lunzer as president. In this historical period in which hedge funds are sucking papers dry for their cash flow, Facebook and Google are dominating the online advertising space, and the U.S. president is incessantly deprecating the hard work of the news industry, Bernie has had the vision to fight for members and future members. He has fought for CWA resources to expand organizing. He has supported the pay equity campaign and has asked me to do six pay equity studies. He succeeded in thwarting the attempt by Alden Global Capital to purchase Gannett with his outreach to shareholders. He is fighting to block the journalism-destroying GateHouse/Gannett merger as I write this testimonial.
I am a Research Economist in the CWA Research Department. As a CWA staff member with 18 years seniority, I have worked closely with many of the vice presidents. I have found Bernie to have a keen understanding of the news industry. He has the experience to fight the financialization of the news industry and to organize new generations of news workers.
Before I came to CWA, I taught at Wesleyan University and Connecticut College. I have written one book, co-authored a second book, and edited a third book. In my own work, I have examined leadership of progressive organizations and I can say without hesitation that Bernie rates among the most strategic labor and progressive leaders I have studied.
It is no secret that there is competition for resources at CWA. Bernie has advocated forcefully for funding both to defend Guild members and to grow the Guild. The remarkable success in organizing over the last two years relates directly to Bernie’s ability to work with the CWA Executive Board to ensure Guild projects are funded.
Bernie has also learned from CWA and he has directed his staff to do the same. His vision of organizing is not just newsroom-centered but news organization-centered. He has also expanded TNG-CWA into the digital-only news world. He has expanded TNG-CWA beyond the news industry into interpreting.
Bernie works well with our lobbying shop on Capitol Hill. That includes educating lawmakers on asset-stripping designs of hedge funds. Thus, it was not surprising when Senate Minority Leader took to the Senate floor in February to question the intentions of Alden’s purchase offer of Gannett. Likewise, the “save local news” resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives in early April 2019 had its origins in conversations between lawmakers and CWA. The legislation filed by Sen. Warren and others in July 2019 to rein in hedge funds was partially inspired by the Digital First / Alden Global Capital story that Bernie conveyed to the Senator.
He has tapped the expertise of the Research Department to win a shareholder proposal at GateHouse – afterwards leveraged for pay increases – and to encourage Gannett shareholders to reject the Alden slate of directors at Gannett. Much of the information on Tribune Publishing (f/k/a tronc) in advance of wins at the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Virginia Pilot, Hartford Courant, and the Allentown Morning Call came from the Research Department at Bernie’s request. He knows how to use information strategically to win against better-funded adversaries.
I am proud to work with Bernie for the progressive values dear to the labor movement. Experience matters.