What does the Guild do?
The Guild constitution states: “The purpose of the Newspaper Guild shall be to advance the economic interests and to improve the working conditions of its members; guarantee, as far as it is able, equal employment and advancement opportunity in the newspaper industry and constant honesty in news, editorials, advertising, and business practices; raise the standards of journalism and ethics of the industry; foster friendly cooperation with all other workers; promote industrial unionism in the jurisdiction of the Guild.”
Who does the Guild represent?
The Newspaper Guild was founded as a union for journalists. Today the Guild represents some 34,000 workers in all aspects of the newspaper business and the staff of labor unions and nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada. It is nationally affiliated with the Communications Workers of America. The Denver Newspaper Guild represents employees of The Denver Post, the Pueblo Chieftain, the Service Employees International Union Local 105, COWINS and FRESC.
When was the Guild founded?
Columnist Heywood Broun, along with editorial employees seeking better wages, formed the American Newspaper Guild in in Washington, D.C. in 1933. It became the the Newspaper Guild in the 1970s and merged with the Communications Workers of America in 1997. The Denver local was started by several Rocky Mountain News employees. Fearing management backlash, they held their first union meeting after dark, behind a coal mine slag heap in Boulder County. The local received its charter on May 4, 1936, and signed its Rocky Mountain News contract that same year. A contract with The Denver Post followed in 1938. The contracts provided for an eight-hour work day, a five-day work week, a top minimum pay for reporters, severance pay and two weeks paid vacation for employees — all things they did not have prior to the establishment of the Denver Newspaper Guild. Over the years the Guild has worked to achieve such benefits as sick leave, health insurance, life insurance, pensions, holiday pay and arbitration rights for discipline for dismissal that is unjust or without sufficient cause. You enjoy these rights today because past Guild members fought for them.
What is collective bargaining?
A practice under which employee representatives (unions) and employers determine the conditions of employment through direct negotiation, normally resulting in a written contract that sets wages, hours and other conditions to be observed for a stipulated period of time.
What does collective bargaining mean to me?
It means you have experienced negotiators working on your behalf. Union employees earn 26.9 percent more than nonunion workers, and enjoy substantially better benefits.
Who runs the Guild?
Members run our local. It is managed by a board made up of elected Guild officers. The Guild also employs full-time staff people who handle all the administrative functions of the office, negotiate with management and handle a variety of other responsibilities.
What is a steward?
Stewards are employees who volunteer their help to make sure the contract is followed. They do this by answering your questions, helping you find solutions to problems and representing you in meetings with your managers. Wondering what your rights and responsibilities are? Check with a steward. They should be your first contact if you have a problem on the job.
When Should I ask a steward to represent me?
You have the right to have a steward present you at any meeting that could affect your relationship with the company — whether it is a disciplinary meeting or not. If a manager asks to speak with you in private, ask a steward to go with you. Why? Not because you can’t stand up for yourself, but because a steward standing beside you makes you a stronger employee, one who won’t be taken advantage of, intimidated or treated inappropriately. A steward also can help you and your manager work out solutions to problems. Managers know you have the right to a steward and cannot prevent you from exercising that right. You will find that encounters with managers are far more fair and productive when a steward is present. If you go into a manager’s office alone, it’s your word against theirs if any information from that meeting sparks an issue.
How can I become a steward?
Contact the Newspaper Guild office. If you are interested in helping your fellow employees, and are willing to learn, and occasionally give up some of your time, the Guild welcomes your efforts and will provide the necessary training.
How can I get involved in the Guild?
Contact the Newspaper Guild office. Your participation is always welcome, whether it is helping educate employees about the Guild, attending a meeting or just wearing a button that shows your support.
Why should I join the Guild when I get all the benefits of membership without paying dues?
Because it’s not fair to those employees who are members. The law requires the union to represent all employees regardless of membership, but you only have union benefits because your fellow workers pay for them. Also, you don’t really get all the benefits of membership: You cannot vote on a contract or other issues that are brought before the membership; you cannot attend bargaining meetings that are open to union members; you cannot take advantage of a number of benefits available only to members, such as those offered through Union Plus; and you cannot say that you support efforts to maintain and improve our wages and benefits. By not joining the Guild, you weaken its efforts. We are stronger when we stand together.
Can I be disciplined or treated unfairly for being a Guild member?
No. You have a legal right to join a union. Management is prohibited by law from interfering in union activity. The employees most likely to be treated unfairly are those who don’t belong to the Guild and don’t know their rights.
Will joining the Guild prevent me from moving into management?
No. Many of our current managers are former Guild members.