Guild officers and professional staff
The Local Staff: (from bottom left to right) Anthony Napoli, Bob Townsend and Susan DeCarava are the Local Representatives. President Bill O'Meara and Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely (top: left to right) are elected officials.
BILL O'MEARA, a former writer/editor at WPIX, has been an staff member or officer of The NewsGuild of New York since 1988 and is now serving his third full term as Local President. Bill came up through the ranks at the Local, first as Local Representative then as Secretary-Treasurer before being elected as Local Preseident on June 4, 2007. As President, Bill has been charged with leading 20 units through perhaps the most difficult time period that the Guild has ever experienced. With the country's economy, the newspaper industry, and unions under furious attack, Bill has helped rescue the Guild-NY Times Health Benefits fund in 2008; negotiate a fair agreement for paycuts at The Times in 2009; force Thomson Reuters to settle contract dispute through winning numerous Unfair Labor Practice Charges; negotiated a successful merger between Newsweek and The Daily Beast; and fair contracts at Hudson News, Standard & Poor's, Time Inc., the Nation, and the Foreign Policy Association, and Scholastic.
Prior to being elected as Local President, Bill served as Secretary-Treasurer from January 1999 to June 2007. During that span, Bill helped the N.Y. Local’s General Fund assets grow from $4.6 million at the end of fiscal year 1998 to just shy of $8 million for that period ending September 20, 2006. That is in addition to the more than $1 million in the Local’s Defense Fund, which is used for strikes and other defensive strategies.
Bill began his career at the Guild in 1988 as a Local Representative, following several years as a news writer for WINS radio and a writer, editor, and Guild Unit Chair at WPIX-TV. While at WPIX, and then as a Local Representative for the WPIX Unit, he led a successful seven-year fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States to prove that management had improperly declared impasse in contract negotiations.
Bill worked his way through Fordham University, graduating in 1980 with a B.A. in Communications. He won a New York State Regents Scholarship, one from Fordham, and one from his father’s union, the National Association of Postal Supervisors.
In 1979, while still an undergraduate, Bill worked as a newswriter at All News Radio WINS. He was "permanently replaced" in the position for refusing to cross a picket line when the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA) struck the station.
Bill and his wife, Peggy, are the parents of two daughters, Colleen and Kaitlyn.
PETER SZEKELY was a reporter for Reuters for nearly 29 years before his election as the Guild’s secretary-treasurer in June 2007.
As its No. 2 officer, Szekely oversees the local’s finances, a role that includes budgeting and setting fiscal priorities at a time of declining membership and upheaval in the news business. He is also chief enforcement officer, reviewing and deciding on requests from the local’s professional staff to arbitrate unresolved grievances with employers. Finally, Szekely led the effort to revamp the local’s website, which remains a work in progress.
During his years at Reuters, where he reported on numerous subjects, mostly from its Washington bureau, Szekely was a Guild activist on several levels and was involved in negotiating seven contracts. He served as chairman of the Reuters unit since 1990, local chairperson since 1995 (after being elected to the New York Guild’s Executive Committee in 1993) and a regional vice president on the Executive Council of the Guild’s parent union, The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. In 1989 he took a leave of absence from Reuters to work as a Guild organizer for six months. He is also the 2002 winner of the Thomas F. Keenan Newspaper Guild of New York service award.
Szekely is a graduate of Northeastern University, where he majored in journalism. After working at newspapers in the Boston area, he joined Reuters in 1978, covering commodity and energy markets in New York. In 1983, he moved to the Washington bureau, where he covered securities regulation, economics, labor and political and general news. He is married to fellow Guild member Chizu Nomiyama, a Reuters desk editor in New York.
KAREN ROHAN, Local Chairperson, is the highest-ranking Local officer who is not an employee of the union. Karen, who was elected in March 2013, presides at the meetings of the Local’s Executive Committee and of the General Membership.
Karen has been a member of the Local’s Executive Committee since 1995. Previously, she served as Unit Chairperson at the Foreign Policy Association for many years, where she is currently Editor In Chief. During her years of service to the Guild, Karen has attended numerous TNG conferences and CWA conventions.
ANTHONY NAPOLI, one of the Guild’s three Local Representatives, came to the local from The New York Times in February 2006. He currently serves as the Local Representative for The New York Times, Amsterdam News, Hudson News, and Writers Guild.
Prior to his job at the Local, Anthony served as the Grievance Chair of the Times unit for three years, was elected as the unit’s First Vice Chairperson and as an Executive Board member.
Anthony was hired by the newspaper on April l, 1986, as a pot-washer in the company cafeteria. Two years later, he stepped up to a delivery clerk position in the receiving department, and became a shop steward. He was promoted in 1996 as an advertising production representative in the customer order fulfillment. He won a technical merit award from The Times for creating and implementing a process for posting web ads in the newspaper.
Anthony attended what was then C.W. Post College (now Long Island University), majoring in business management.
SUSAN DeCARAVA started as a Local Representative in December 2008. She comes from the Writers Guild of America, East, where she served as Unit Chair for two years and was instrumental in organizing that unit. She represents members at Thomson Reuters, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Jewish Forward, El Diario, The Hour, and The Foreign Policy Association.
BOB DARAIO brought his wide-ranging background in television and the labor movement to the Guild in 2012, first in a six-month stint as mobilization coordinator and then as a Local Representative. He is assigned to Standard & Poor's, The Nation, The Jersey Journal, Scholastic, WPIX and Consumer Reports.
Bob came to the Guild from WPIX, where he worked as a master control room technical director, video engineer, and robotic camera operator. In 2002, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored Bob for his video and robotic camera work on the Emmy Award-winning "WB11 News at 10." While at WPIX, Bob served as a shop steward for Local 1212 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Bob earned an MA in Labor Studies in 2011 from the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the City University of New York.
Bob is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Ossining, NY, where he lives with his wife Gayle, an IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) Local 764 wardrobe supervisor.