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 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:
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 Wall Street Journal:
From The Washington Post:
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 The New Yorker:
- Finding Connection and Resilience During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- The Podcasts to Listen to While You’re Social-Distancing
From New York Magazine:
- The 100 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
- The Metropolitan Opera Will Stream Operas for Free in Wake of Coronavirus
- Scholastic Learn at Home | A helpful resource for parents utilizing remote learning for kids
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.
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.