Thursday, May 17, 2007

So, like, what exactly has the Guild done for it's members lately?

That question was asked of us recently. It's a legitimate one, but the answer lies in the numerous daily victories happening in Guild workplaces all over North America.

Take for example what the Guild did in Albany, NY on the issue of after hours blogging (emphasis ours):

"The Newspaper Guild-CWA of Albany has reached an agreement with the Times Union on after hours blogging. The agreement waives the normal minimum of four hours overtime when people are called back to work after they have gone home. Instead people are paid straight overtime solely for blogging. This was a recognition on the part of the local and our members that some members enjoy blogging and it does not require employees to drive back to the workplace. Sometimes members can spend as little as 15 minutes posting an item and they were reluctant to seek 4 hours of overtime for doing so."

And The News Media Guild at the Associated Press:

"Our agreement wasn’t about blogging per se, but it covers extra hours assignments. The AP announced it would pay $300 for contributions to its asap (young readers) and travel pieces. Our agreement was just that the payment would be at least $300, but could be more if implicated the higher OT rates in the contract."

The union isn't some disassociated entity ruling from on high, rolling into town to fix workers' problems and strong-arm the company into playing nice. The real power and success lies at the local level — one worker plus another plus ten plus hundreds – thousands in some cases – advocating for each other, working together to identify and resolve problems that arise in their workplace (in the above cases, the problem is compensation for blogging on off hours), negotiating agreements with the company when necessary, launching collective action to effect positive change and building partnerships within the company and in the community.
(end of post)

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