The NewsGuild of New York is working to ensure that you and your colleagues are safe and up to date on any changes in policies and procedures at your workplace. We’re here to advocate for your concerns, to work with management on meeting the challenges to come, and to support each other through this pandemic.
Your Executive Committee, Unit Leadership, and Guild Local Representatives remain in contact with employers as the public health crisis deepens and your workplace conditions and protocols change in response. We will provide updates as we receive them, and we encourage you to share any developments or issues you encounter with us.
The Daily Beast
Foreign Policy Association
The Jersey Journal
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
NBC News Digital
The New Republic
New York Magazine
The New York Times
The New Yorker
People Magazine (Meredith)
Ziff Davis (AskMen, Geek.com, Mashable, PC Mag)
It is important that we are able to communicate with you during this time. Please make sure that your contact information — especially your personal email address and cellphone number — is up to date by alerting Tim Try in our Membership Department of any changes or updating it yourself in the Member Portal. Having trouble accessing the Member Portal? Send us an email.
As of March 16, 2020, the physical Guild office at 1500 Broadway was closed and will be until further notice. We’re taking every precaution to ensure that NewsGuild Local staff members remain available during the coronavirus crisis and the resulting global shift in our work culture. The staff is continuing to work remotely, and your reps can be reached by phone and email. If you have a Guild-related emergency and cannot reach your Unit leadership or your Guild local representative, please email Anthony Napoli, our Secretary-Treasurer and Senior Local Representative or call him at 212-575-1580. You can also reach Guild President Susan DeCarava directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As federal, state and local leadership grapple with what it means to re-open, many of us are facing deep concerns about safely returning to offices and workspaces where companies have yet to institute appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of workers. Though COVID-19 cases in New York City continue to decline, a cautionary tale is unfolding across the country as cases rise dramatically in California, Florida, and elsewhere. At the same time, we’re also struggling with working remotely for an extended period, by some estimates well into 2021 or 2022, while managing the requirements for distance learning with children and elder care with older, vulnerable adults.
Companies like The New York Times are anticipating that most employees will return after the new year. Other media companies have set “sometime this fall” as an undefined target, while a small number of Guild members’ employers have started inviting and in some limited cases mandating — after negotiating with the Guild — that workers return to their offices as of July 20, the start of Phase 4 in NYC.
Everyone has the right to a safe work environment. The Guild’s local-wide Health and Safety Committee has created guidelines, based upon recommendations from our national union, TNG-CWA, for returning to the office. Every workplace is different, and the needs of employees vary. For some, striking a balance between privacy and safety is paramount. For others, it’s about pushing back return dates. How will the office be reconfigured to maintain social distancing? What happens to the data collected through third-party health apps employers want us to download? How will work schedules and productivity be adjusted to reflect the increased burdens of working through a pandemic?
Whatever the concerns of your workplace, these guidelines are meant both to be the starting point of discussions with colleagues and to provide actual recommendations to implement. Review them with your colleagues and talk to your unit leadership about how to develop and advocate for plans to create and maintain a safe and healthy working environment.
The bottom line is: If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe returning to work but are being asked to do, please let your steward, unit leadership and/or Local Representative know right away. If you’re being sent out into the field without the correct safety equipment, let us know. Your health is our main concern, and we will fight with you to make sure that it’s also the primary concern of our employers, too.
If you’re interested in joining the Local’s Health and Safety Committee and/or creating one for your bargaining unit, please email our Health and Safety co-chair, Stephanie Davis at email@example.com.
And as always, if you have any questions or concerns you’d like to discuss, email me.
President, The NewsGuild of New York
As New York City enters Phase 4 of reopening (as of July 20, 2020), employers too will soon seek to reopen workplaces. While many employers have been transparent and communicative with the Guild, you and your colleagues have a voice in what returning to the office safely looks like. Along with our unit leadership, we can all take an active role in advocating for a safe return. That means appropriate precautions are ready and agreed upon prior to reentry and for those working in the field. It also means that there are specific plans to address the needs of our colleagues who may need to take care of a loved one or remain at home with their kids.
Each workplace has its own circumstances when considering reopening, but the effects of COVID-19 are a shared problem we know is best addressed collaboratively.
Building on existing contract language, and following guidelines put forth by TNG-CWA, the Guild’s Health & Safety committee has identified the following priorities for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.
1. Timing and criteria for resumption of normal operations
Until there is a vaccine and limited threat of contracting the virus, we advise that employers should allow continued work from home for workers. Reopening should happen when it is determined safe to do so, and only after a workplace risk assessment is conducted with participation from our union.
2. Workplace safety
Workplace cleaning and sanitation must be a priority and a shared responsibility between management and you and your colleagues, with input from the Guild. When reopening the office, steps should be taken to ensure your safety and to reduce the risk of infection, including but not limited to: mandatory safety training, safely-distanced workspaces, staggered schedules, staggered office schedules, and available masks and disinfectants.
3. Workplace screening and record-keeping
Prior to entering workplaces, all workers should be screened for current or recent COVID-19 symptoms, including fever. Anyone with symptoms should be sent home and advised to self-isolate and seek medical care as necessary. Initiate contact tracing for anyone with a suspected case of COVID-19, in line with local health department and CDC best practices, but keep Covid-19 positive status of any employee confidential where possible. If the company insists on using an app to track you
4. Expand benefits related to Covid-19
Companies should provide Covid-19-related benefits, including but not limited to: free Covid-19 testing, vaccinations, expanded EAP and mental health programs, hazard pay, medical, sick leave, and family leave for workers. You and your coworkers who take time off for Covid-19 should suffer no loss of pay, reduction in sick leave or paid time off. No employee should have to sign any document to waive their rights. If you’re presented with a waiver, contact your unit leaders and Local Representative immediately.
5. Accommodation of individual circumstances
Employers should accommodate your individual circumstances and provide flexibility for you and your colleagues for travel and childcare. Employers should provide (or reimburse) all materials you need to do your job (ergonomic work equipment, high speed internet, office supplies, etc).
6. Workplace buildings and facilities
Company leaders should ensure safe facilities — from HVAC systems, to water supply and from clean and functioning refrigerators down to utensils. Employers should ensure safety procedures (such as fire exit plans) are updated and to code. Extra precautions should be put in place for our colleagues who come into contact with the public or work in the field.
7. The Guild will regularly review safety procedures with management
Your unit and Local Representative will stay up-to-date on state and local government guidelines related to reopening our workplaces and newsrooms. The Guild will work to develop internal procedures for dealing with non-compliant employers.
While this is not an exhaustive list of what we expect management to consider and implement in regard to office health and safety, we do anticipate that certain guidelines may change in order to effectively respond to the progression on COVID-19 across the country. If you’re interested in a more detailed list of expectations, please contact your unit leadership or Local Representative.
Additionally, we’re encouraging all units to create a member-led Health and Safety Committee in your workplace to collaborate with management in working to develop site-specific safety plans to discuss concerns on an ongoing basis with employers. If you’re interested in starting a Health and Safety Committee, but not sure where to start, email Guild Executive Committee member Stephanie Davis.
For more resources, visit here.
This past Sunday, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s longstanding daily, delivered its last paper as a union publication. Advance Local (a business unit of Advance Publications, which also owns Condé Nast) busted the union and shifted all the jobs from the print publication to its nonunion digital counterpart. Some of the affected journalists were offered non-union positions, but many were not. A release by The Plain Dealer NewsGuild stated starkly: “The unit will be dissolved effective May 17. The Plain Dealer newsroom will no longer exist.”
It’s a devastating blow to the Cleveland community, especially for the Guild-represented workers who collectively invested 80 years in their newsroom with a union that fiercely advocated for its members and for its readership. Of course, Cleveland isn’t alone. In the past few months Oregon’s The Portland Mercury announced it was ceasing print operations temporarily; The Waterbury Record in Vermont printed its last paper; The Daily Clintonian in Indiana was shuttered; and several other outlets cut back or completely eliminated their print publications. At the same time thousands of our colleagues across the nation have faced layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts at digital and print outlets alike. You’ll find a lengthy list of media casualties here and here, including a few from our Local.
Communities across the country are facing a serious threat to vital reporting on local government, culture, and life-saving information during this pandemic and other environmental crises. Jon Schleuss, president of our international union, the NewsGuild-CWA, is calling employers’ use of the pandemic to prioritize profits over news an “extinction level event” for local media and a significant hit to our democracy. Over the past two months, our international union has been at the forefront fighting these frightening developments nationwide, calling on government leaders to act immediately to safeguard our press and protect our media workers. The #SaveTheNews Campaign is a historic step for our union as we advocate for the news media and its workers to be included in the next stimulus package.
Today, our Guild siblings are calling on all of us to help elevate the message that we must save the news. Across Twitter, our union and nonunion colleagues are talking about what happens “without local news,” sharing impactful stories, and highlighting why news outlets provide an essential service and are a necessary watchdog for democracy.
I hope you’ll participate. A simple but still powerful way you can help is by getting the campaign snowballing on social media — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and more — using #SaveTheNews (tag @NewsGuild and/or @NYGuild) and a straightforward statement in support of the news media, local coverage, or whatever aspect motivates you. Ask your friends and family to do the same!
Here are some other ways to support this social media campaign:
- Highlight the hometown or regional publication that ignited your passion for journalism or gave you your start in the field. Encourage a subscription.
- Tell people (via social media) to visit the Save The News website to learn more about this campaign and how they can get involved.
- Sign the petition calling on congressional leaders to acknowledge that news is essential and it cannot fall victim to this pandemic. Ask others to sign as well.
- Get active with the national campaign! There are two member-led committees driving the #SaveTheNews effort. They could use your insight and assistance. The more people involved the better — reach out to join us!
I know that for some, participating in this campaign publicly might raise concerns about your company’s ethics policy or the appearance of a conflict of interest. There are many ways to exercise your rights as a worker to advocate for yourself and your colleagues, as well as for First Amendment rights and journalistic principles. Any questions or concerns? Reach out to me or your Local Representative.
We must stand united with media workers across the country in committing to deliver the news to our audiences, even when our employers won’t.
We lean on each other. We fight for each other. #SaveTheNews
Tomorrow, our Executive Committee will host a Guild-wide Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. to discuss the NewsGuild-CWA (our parent union) resolution calling on congress for stimulus relief for media companies across the nation experiencing financial duress as a result of this pandemic. We will also talk about how our Local is negotiating and mobilizing around COVID-19-related issues that arise in our workplaces.
The TNG resolution was announced last week — and supported by our Executive Committee — at a time when unionized newsrooms across the nation are implementing significant furloughs, pay cuts and layoffs and our colleagues are experiencing financial hardship and personal distress as a result. Our own Local has a few units that have faced these challenges.
During the meeting we will hear from Jon Schleuss, President of TNG-CWA about the resolution and next steps; our own Rachel Sanders, Unit Chair at BuzzFeed News, about how we negotiated in response to proposed pay reductions; Bill Baker, Unit Chair at The New York Times and our representative on the TNG-CWA Executive Committee; and from Andrew Pantazi, a currently furloughed reporter from The Florida Times-Union and a member of the Florida Times-Union Guild. There may be additional guests.
We know that many of you have thoughts on this stimulus proposal and might have questions about how our Local is fighting to stave off permanent staff reductions. Please join us tomorrow night at 7 p.m. for a virtual town hall meeting.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for access to the meeting.
Today, our parent union, The NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America (TNG-CWA) is calling on Congress to include media workers in upcoming coronavirus stimulus packages. It is a bold initiative our Local’s Executive Committee is proud to support:
"We are witnessing the profound effect that the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying public health and economic crisis is having on media workers across the country. Understanding that media companies of every size and publications in every language are likely to seek stimulus funds, we, the Executive Committee of The NewsGuild of New York, support the NewsGuild International’s efforts to ensure that stimulus funds are used responsibly to support media workers, strengthen the news industry and safeguard trusted sources of information for communities nationwide. The NewsGuild of New York is committed to exploring every possible avenue to support all media workers in these unprecedented times."
This is an unprecedented fight to save our industry. Crisis is not new to media professionals. In fact, many of us are experts in crisis. But now Guild members are becoming part of the story. All across the country, thousands of us are facing draconian layoffs and workplace closures, often in newsrooms already weakened by tenuous funding models and destabilized by corporate hedge funds that extract resources from local news outlets and hurt our communities. Even media companies struggling to do the right thing in this pandemic are caught in a financial bind.
TNG-CWA’s campaign is straightforward, but this moment does thrust our union into uncharted territory. As a union of media professionals, we know this is a fine line for many of you concerned with maintaining your objectivity. We are fully cognizant of the need for journalists to uphold their professional ethics regarding political action. To address this concern, TNG will be relying on the legislative arm of CWA, as well as several community groups, to help make this campaign effective.
The determination and energy of Guild members across the country to stand up for one another in this devastating moment is inspiring. In spite of social distancing, we are not only maintaining our ties to one another, but expanding them so that we are big enough in spirit and strong enough in solidarity to continue to do the work on which so many rely.
We know that you may have thoughts about the stimulus proposal, and you might also have questions about how our Local, the NewsGuild of New York, is fighting to stave off permanent staff reductions. Please join me and members of the Executive Committee on April 7 at 7 p.m. for a virtual town hall meeting to discuss this national campaign, how it affects our Local, and how you can get involved. We intend to invite a few guest speakers from newsrooms facing corona-related hardships so we can learn more about the critical need for this stimulus. Dial-in details will be sent out to Guild members early next week.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how the gift of the Guild, the gift of standing together, is that collective action and unity gives us the space to see a bigger picture and take steps to protect our industry, our profession, our colleagues, and ourselves. I’m so proud to be a Guild member during this moment and to take those steps with you.
As always, I want to hear directly from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your ideas and questions.
President | The NewsGuild of New York
To all NewsGuild members:
We are in a crisis.
NewsGuild members across the U.S. and Canada have been working tirelessly to provide accurate information to our communities about the coronavirus pandemic. This kind of important journalism is needed more than ever right now.
But the news industry's very ability to provide that information, at a time when it is needed most, is at risk. Business closures across the continent have decimated advertising markets, even as readership online skyrockets.
The industry was already suffering and entered this crisis without enough workers to cover this story: the largest one in our lifetime.
Now, we’re facing a possible extinction. We've seen newspapers cut print days because of the pandemic, and thousands of our members are facing pay cuts and furloughs.
Our union was born out of the Great Depression. Journalists banded together to secure fair wages and rights at newspapers across the country during a time of national crisis.
It was a bold act that many thought wasn't possible. Many publishers opposed the move, claiming that allowing journalists to form unions would restrict their First Amendment rights.
In this crisis, it is time again to take bold action. Starting at noon Eastern Time Wednesday, we are going public with an unprecedented effort in a bid to save our industry.
Earlier this week, the NewsGuild's Executive Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for public stimulus for the industry.
The goal is twofold:
- Save and protect the jobs in the news industry now without supporting hedge funds and private equity groups who pillaged our workforce;
- Seed a future that promotes a sustainable news industry supported by the public.
This would come from a very likely additional stimulus package in the coming weeks. As Guild leaders, we know this is a strange place for our union. But our critical reporting in the face of declining ad revenue, furloughs, and layoffs shows how essential we are to public safety.
We must move forward with a joint effort to save our industry — not for our sake — but for the thousands of communities that look to us for life-saving information during this pandemic.
In order for this effort to be successful, we all need to get into this fight. We need to remind our communities and legislators how important we are. While this is an unprecedented fight, it's a fight we must wage.
And, as we say, when we fight, we win.
As the PAUSE executive order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlines, the news media is an essential service while New York State shutters all “nonessential” businesses and restricts physical interactions to slow the spread of coronavirus in our region, which has seen a major jump in cases after more testing was put in place. That journalism is essential, especially in this moment, is without question. These past few weeks have been an example of what has been — and for the foreseeable immediate future will be — an exhaustive effort to stay ahead of this story and keep the public informed.
But journalism in a time of crisis isn’t just about the crisis. Our Guild is proud to represent and advocate for journalists and media workers who cover, edit, opine, assess and analyze everything else that is still happening in our cities, states, country and world. So whether you’re in the midst of COVID-19 coverage, or assessing how best to work remotely, reporting on an Instagram live dance party or reviewing performances that are available for streaming to get us all through a hard time, the Guild is here for you.
While many of you will continue to work remotely or in the field, several of our units are considered nonessential under Governor Cuomo’s order — meaning that as of 8 p.m. Monday, March 23, those employees are mandated to work from home. The vast majority of our employers have already made the shift to remote work, and we are in conversation with them and others to understand how this order will affect working conditions off site. We believe that for most of our units, both essential and nonessential work can be completed remotely.
If you need documentation of employment, specifying that you are an essential employee, please reach out Membership Associate Tim Try at email@example.com.
COVID-19 at Hudson News
In addition to media workers and journalists, the Guild also represents over 300 employees of Hudson News stores at Penn Station, Port Authority and Grand Central Station. As a result of physical distancing and travel restrictions, those stores have seen a rapid decline in customers, and last week Hudson News management told us they were gearing up for substantial layoffs.
The Guild successfully worked with management to avoid layoffs and, instead, convert the proposed layoffs into a combination of voluntary leaves of absence and rotating staff furloughs. Guild members will work reduced hours, be able to collect unemployment benefits and return to a full schedule once this crisis has passed.
Unfortunately, one of our members at Hudson News has tested positive for the virus; they are in quarantine and recovering. In response, management is closing its Penn Station stores for 14 to 21 days. Any member who was exposed will receive full pay. For everyone else, the furloughs will be implemented as agreed.
Reinforcing Job Security in a Crisis
I’ve been hearing from members across several bargaining units who are justifiably worried about layoffs, even as they are working harder than ever. The Guild will do everything in its power to stave off and reduce job loss in all of our workplaces. We know that for many units, site traffic is at an all-time high. Local and unit representatives remain in contact with management, not only discussing health and safety protocols, but also how business will be conducted as we navigate this new professional culture. If you have concerns or questions about job protections, please reach out to your unit leaders or Local Representative. We will be talking more about this in the coming weeks as the impact on our industry becomes clearer.
The Guild’s coronavirus update page is full of helpful resources and information, like this guide from Scholastic for parents. It also has good information for workers in general, like a chart from the New York State AFL-CIO that lets everyone know what benefits they’re entitled to under the new federal and state corona-related legislations. I know everyone has a lot of email to keep track of, but it’s important for us to stay in contact, so please ask your colleagues if they’re getting Guild communications, and if they are not, direct them to our website to ensure they are up to date.
President | The NewsGuild of New York
In tracking the spread of the coronavirus and the growing number of COVID-19 cases, the timetable for when our schedules might revert to “normal” is increasingly unclear. This — coupled with the closing of schools and supportive services — presents a significant issue for parents, for members caring for a loved one, and for those who may become ill themselves.
Your Guild leadership and staff are actively working with management at all of our units to ensure that you have adequate resources and support to take care of your children and other family members. We’ve been discussing various solutions including additional banks of paid time specifically for childcare, unlimited paid time off for coronavirus-related care, and instituting flexible and/or staggered work schedules.
We believe in this deeply. All employers, whether or not their workforce is unionized, have a responsibility during this health crisis to ensure that their employees are able to care for their children or loved ones without fear of repercussions or dismissal. The ability to do so directly impacts the success of self-quarantining and social distancing, which in turn has a profound influence on the trajectory of this pandemic.
Unfortunately, some of you — our photographers, videographers, field and political reporters, and producers, for example — are unable to work remotely. We are talking with employers about how to ensure your safe travel and making every effort to enable you to care for your families during this time. We are also asking employers to allow you, if applicable, to take home the appropriate equipment to do your work.
This is a great time to talk to your Unit Leaders about how the company can be better prepared as well as to help create and implement readiness plans that work for all of us. In the meantime, we will continue to share information and keep the updates coming.
Earlier today, we launched a page on our website with access to all of our coronavirus updates. In addition, we have links to much of your great coverage of the pandemic as well as several resources to assist you during this time — including a particularly insightful article from our members at Ars Technica, who’ve been working remotely for over 22 years.
Last, I would encourage us all to use some of this time to build solidarity. While it’s important to be conscious of social (physical) distancing, we can and should check in on each other digitally. I’ve heard some great ways many of you are staying connected, from lunchtime video calls to shared playlists, all helping to build an online community. We’ll be posting these ideas and more on our coronavirus resources and updates webpage.
Our members at Roosevelt Institute created #virtual-parent-support — a new Slack channel where some employees without children have volunteered to help entertain young ones with things like virtual story time sessions, FaceTime chats, pet playdates, and games — for company staffers to help out colleagues who are at home with kids. It’s also a channel that members are using to proactively share resources and communicate. Here’s how Jade Wilenchik, our Unit Chair, described their efforts:
“A lot of folks at Roosevelt are parents to small children, some of them voiced that they are having a really hard time balancing their work with childcare responsibilities now that schools have closed. There’s a ton of ‘how to work from home’ literature that’s being put out right now, and a lot of it does not account for parents who have children at home.
“As an employer, Roosevelt seems to be thinking about new solutions for parents on staff, but we’re also trying to help out where we can and create community in our digital spaces. We’re using that space to proactively share resources, especially from coworkers with family/friends who work with children. For example, one of our coworkers’ parents is a violinist and offered to perform a kids’ concert. We’re hopeful this will help our colleagues and their kids.”
We plan on throwing a few Guild-wide digital gatherings in the next few weeks, providing us a chance to talk to one another, release some quarantine cabin fever, and get a sense of how we’re all doing. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.
Lastly, we’ve extended the deadline to our Diversity and Inclusion Census through the beginning of April. If you’re able, please take a few minutes to fill out this brief and anonymous survey if you haven’t done so already. Getting a complete picture of our membership from shop to shop is important to planning how best to advocate for you, especially as we continue collective bargaining on contracts. If you have any questions about the census or the committee, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will keep the updates coming. But please make sure to reach out to your Unit leaders, Local Representative, or me with any issues or concerns.
President | The NewsGuild of New York
In taking every precaution to ensure that NewsGuild Local staff members remain available to you during this pandemic and the resulting global shift in our work culture, the physical Guild office at 1500 Broadway is temporarily closing through the end of March. The staff is continuing to work remotely, and your reps remain available to you via phone and email. If you have a Guild-related emergency and cannot reach your Unit leadership or your Guild local representative, please call Anthony Napoli, our Secretary-Treasurer and Senior Local Representative at 212-575-1580. You can also reach me directly at email@example.com.
Much as the general public does, we rely on the kind of reporting that has many of you tirelessly working to keep the world informed. We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and guidelines from local, national and international agencies, like the World Health Organization and the CDC.
Most critically, we are diligently following up with employers as the public health crisis deepens and workplace conditions and protocols change. Unit leaders and your Local representatives will provide updates as they receive them, and I encourage you to stay in contact as well. Many of you have been informing us of potential risks in your newsrooms, and we ask that you continue to do so — your safety and that of your colleagues is of utmost concern to us.
As I noted before, if you are not working remotely and are in the field or office, please follow safety precautions and don’t take unnecessary risks. If you are experiencing any problems getting permission to work remotely or your managers are unresponsive to concerns about potential work-related exposure to the virus, contact your Unit leadership or a Local Representative immediately.
Your Executive Committee, Unit officers and Guild staff are working hard to continue our mission of securing and enforcing our contracts and advocating for our members, even as we exercise appropriate caution in our personal interactions. The work doesn’t stop. We are proceeding with scheduled bargaining as much as possible and Local-wide or Unit-specific Guild meetings will be conducted via video and phone conferences.
And finally, although where you work may have temporarily changed, your working conditions — and your contract — remain in effect. So for those devoting hours on end to keeping us all up to date, please make sure you file your shift differentials and overtime.
I have been inspired watching you all support and encourage each other during these last chaotic weeks. It’s a testament to your dedication to your profession, your audience, your colleagues and your Guild. Thank you all for your work, both on the job and on behalf of your union.
Please reach out with concerns and questions or any developments you think may be important for us to know.
President | The NewsGuild of New York
While the spread of coronavirus widens and the cases of COVID-19 increase, we’re focused on how this affects your physical safety and working conditions.
Many, if not most, of our employers have begun to allow Guild members and their colleagues to work remotely. For those of you that are able, we urge you to do so. But we know that for many of you, your job requires you to be out in the field — putting yourself at risk. If you must work from the office or in the field, please do so cautiously and at your comfort level.
The Guild has been in contact with management at our units, requesting information on procedures and expectations should offices implement changes in response to the outbreak, which the World Health Organization just categorized as a pandemic. Your Guild representatives and unit leaders will continue to follow up with employers for updates and will communicate new information we receive. If you’re not sure about your company’s procedures, please contact the appropriate company and/or Guild representative immediately.
Additionally, if you are concerned about a response from management or are having issues getting permission to work from home, please let your stewards, unit officers or Local Representatives know. Your safety during this time is important, and we want to ensure that all of our employers are taking every precaution and appropriate measure to avoid any risk to you or your colleagues.
If there are instances of possible exposure or illness within your unit, let both your company and the Guild know immediately. We are coordinating with our international union, The News Guild-CWA, to keep track of members nationwide that might have been exposed or diagnosed with the illness.
If you start to feel unwell, please reach out to your healthcare provider. Should you need assistance in navigating your insurance and benefits, contact your plan administrator directly. If you have further questions about your benefits, contact a steward or Guild representative.
The Guild office remains open and Local Representatives and staff are available to you. Your Executive Committee is taking precautions of its own during this period, including remoting several meetings, to ensure the safety of staff and members.
We’ll continue to keep you informed and send updates as we receive them. Please reach out with any concerns or questions.
President | The NewsGuild of New York
As we meet the demands of never-ending news, it’s more important than ever to safeguard your health. At the same time that government officials are advising individuals and businesses about how best to prepare for a potential COVID-19 outbreak, NewsGuild representatives are gathering information to protect you. In anticipation of how this virus could affect our workplaces, we’re asking employers about internal communication procedures, what plans they have to enable you to work remotely, and what safety measures and travel protocols are in the pipeline for employees. Guild reps, unit chairs, and officers will be following up with you as we get updates.
While we want to be sure we’re addressing urgent issues like this one, we are continuing to also focus on long-term goals. One particularly timely concern is contract language that protects employees from the dangerous silence of non-disclosure agreements, while a perennial priority remains demanding employers put meaningful resources into diversifying our workplaces.
We are taking an aggressive stance on NDAs, which are never appropriate or acceptable as a silencing mechanism to conceal harassment and discrimination. As our industry and others grapple with the damaging effects of these agreements, some of our shops are ahead of the curve. Both New York Magazine and The Daily Beast have already tentatively agreed to proposals lifting NDAs retroactively and prohibiting them in the future. This is historic for our industry and sets a standard that we should advocate for in all of our contracts.
You may have read that our members pushed Condé Nast to abandon NDAs as well. While that company said publicly it would stop using these agreements, management is only revoking these agreements on a case-by-case basis. We disagree with this approach, as it still leaves open the potential of harm to current employees. Instead, our New Yorker, Ars Technica and Pitchfork bargaining committees are urging Condé management to release all NDAs related to harassment or discrimination. These victories make clear that NDAs have no place in a modern media company. We will no longer tolerate the use of such tactics to protect those in power while suppressing worker reports of harassment and discriminatory behavior.
To help us in identifying areas that need action and get all our members’ perspectives on diversity and related issues, please make sure to complete our anonymous demographic census. Our collective work is our most effective tool to enact change, and it’s the best path to ensuring that our workplaces reflect our communities. The deadline for completing the survey is March 13. Make sure you’re counted!
Finally, as I see how long and hard you are all working to meet the intense demands of the 24-hour news cycles, I want to remind you — especially those working on all things election-related — to keep track of your hours. Whether you’re eligible for overtime, comp time, or both, you should claim it (and not just on primary nights!). You’ve earned it.
From The NewsGuild-CWA:
- NewsGuild urges establishment of coronavirus protocols
- From the NewsGuild Executive Committee: Life-saving news needs a stimulus
From Ars Technica:
- Don’t Panic: A Comprehensive Guide to the Coronavirus (updated every day at 3 p.m. EST)
From The New York Times:
From The New Yorker:
- The Coronavirus Crisis: All updates
- How Long Will It Take to Develop a Coronavirus Vaccine?
- How Pandemics Change History
From New York Magazine:
From The News Media Alliance:
From The Wall Street Journal:
From The Washington Post:
How to coronavirus | Sarah Maslin Nir
The Actors Fund | NewsGuild members in New York have access to the Fund’s Health Clinic. Across the nation, members have access to the Fund’s online services — from mental health to financial resources. The Actors Fund is a national human services organization here to meet the needs of union members. Services include emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care, and more. For more information, contact us.
From The Atlantic:
- Friendships in the Age of Quarantine
- The Art of Socializing During a Quarantine
- The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’
From Ars Technica:
- Suddenly working at home? We’ve done it for 22 years—and have advice
- The tools and tricks that let Ars Technica function without a physical office
From the Central Labor Council:
From The Nation:
From The National Association of Science Writers:
From New York Magazine:
- The 100 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
- The Metropolitan Opera Will Stream Operas for Free in Wake of Coronavirus
From The New Yorker:
- Finding Connection and Resilience During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- The Podcasts to Listen to While You’re Social-Distancing
From The New York Times:
- Scholastic Learn at Home | A helpful resource for parents utilizing remote learning for kids
From the Society of Professional Journalists:
From USA Today:
Contact your Unit Leadership or Local Representative. Most employers have arranged for remote work; however, there are still some employees who are expected to go to the workplace. For those required to work on site, several employers have implemented safety precautions, such as paying for cabs and temperature checks. Please make sure that you are aware of and feel comfortable with what your company has communicated about your work, and contact us with any questions and/or concerns.
If you are not working remotely and are in the field or office, please follow safety precautions and don’t take unnecessary risks. If you are experiencing any problems getting permission to work remotely or your managers are unresponsive to concerns about potential work-related exposure to the virus, contact your Unit leadership or a Local Representative immediately.
Absolutely. Although where you work may have temporarily changed, your working conditions — and your contract — remain in effect. So for those of you devoting hours on end to keeping us all informed, please make sure you file for shift differentials and overtime. If you think that management is requiring changes in your work that fall outside of your your contract or comfort level, let your Local Representative know right away.
Immediately notify your Unit Leadership, Local Representative, and company management — for your safety and that of your colleagues. Many of you have been informing us of potential risks in your newsrooms, and we ask that you continue to do so. Keeping you safe and healthy is of the utmost concern to us.
Let us know right away! There’s a chance we might not have your updated email or mailing address. It’s an easy fix. You can log in to the Member Portal to edit your information. Or, email your Local Rep to let them know you’re not getting communication. Please make sure that we receive your personal email address, as that’s where most Guild communications are directed.
Your Executive Committee, Unit officers and Guild staff are working hard to continue our mission of securing and enforcing our contracts and advocating for our members, even as we exercise appropriate caution in our personal interactions. The work doesn’t stop. We are proceeding with scheduled bargaining as much as possible digitally and Local-wide or Unit-specific Guild meetings will be conducted via video and phone conferences. If you are involved in a Guild project at the Local or in your unit, you’ll be hearing from the appropriate person with any updates.
Visit our unemployment resources and frequently asked questions page. We have a lot of information to help you navigate the process and potentially other options available to you. Should you have any questions, make sure to speak with your rep.
A few things: Stay up to date and keep in contact with us! Make sure you're taking every precaution to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. Check in with your colleagues who are either working remotely or still traveling for work. Communicate! Let your Unit Leadership and Local Representative know if you have concerns, issues, or questions, and make sure that your contact information is up to date so that you receive all Guild communications.
During such a critical moment across the globe, the value and need for journalism — at every level — is greater than ever. As our members across the country work tirelessly to give their audiences up-to-date, factual and relevant content about the pandemic and beyond, they need our support. Consider subscribing, donating, joining or gifting one or more of these publications.