Members OK cutting Guild's 'paper' name, revising bylaws


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Guild Members on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved removing “paper” from the name of their 81-year-old union and overhauling its bylaws for the first time in 17 years to streamline its leadership and governing structures.

After a three-week mail balloting period, members voted 407 to 105 to change the local’s name from the Newspaper Guild of New York to The NewsGuild of New York. The results were unofficial because the local’s elections committee had yet to certify and report them.

The name change more accurately reflects what has been happening for years – the Guild represents journalists in digital and other non-print media – and signals how the union must position itself to compete more effectively in the evolving news business.

“The news is very much alive, but most of the newspapers that were around when we started are gone. From The Daily Beast to The New York Times, and pretty much everywhere between, more Guild members now work in 24-hour, increasingly-digital news environments,” said Guild President Bill O’Meara. “But one thing that isn’t changing is the importance of a union to look out for news professionals and to make sure that careers in journalism are sustainable.”

In January, the Guild’s parent union changed its name from The Newspaper Guild-CWA to The NewsGuild CWA.

The bylaws revisions, which were endorsed by the local’s Executive Committee and sent to all 2,700 voting members, were approved 360 to 149, overcoming a small opposition campaign.

The revisions address three main areas: 1) conforming to the constitutions of the Guild’s parent unions and applicable federal law, 2) replacing the little used Representative Assembly with an enlarged Executive Committee, which would have representation from all of the Guild's units, and 3) Eliminating one of the Guild’s two full-time paid officer positions by scaling back the role of the secretary-treasurer and reinvesting the savings in staff assigned to strategic areas.

“We’re pleased that members recognized the significance of these bylaws reforms,” said O’Meara. “Streamlining our local’s leadership will make us stronger by enabling us to redeploy our resources to where they can be of better use.”

Some of the bylaws changes take effect immediately, while others take effect at the end of current elected terms in the fall of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. The Guild will make copies of the new bylaws available to members as soon as possible.

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