In Guild election rerun, slate is nominated without opposition
A single slate of candidates that includes the Guild's two current paid officers and its other incumbent rank-and-file leaders was deemed to be elected on Thursday when no opposing nominations were made in a government-supervised rerun of last November's triennial election that the Guild agreed to hold.
The slate, led by President Bill O'Meara and Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely, also includes a handful of new members, including New York Times Unit Chair Grant Glickson, who had unsuccessfully challenged O'Meara in the November election. Glickson was deemed elected as the Local's 2nd vice president, a rank-and-file position he held in the previous term. Also on the slate and deemed elected is Mindy Matthews of The Times, the only member of Glickson's original slate to win election in November.
The absence of any opposing nominations for the 22 open positions suggests there will not be a contested election, as there was in November, the first in 31 years. Under rules set forth by the U.S. Labor Department, the nominated candidates will be declared elected to their positions, barring any legitimate objections made by July 21. (See full slate below.)
Under the rules, the nominated candidates, who ran as the “Democratic Coalition Slate,” will officially assume their offices on Sept. 22. Two positions – those held by 1st Vice President Randye Gilliam of Standard & Poor's and Vice Chair of the Representative Assembly Oscar Hernandez of El Diario – were not open in the rerun because the incumbents ran unopposed in November. The terms of all 24 officers, who comprise the Guild's Executive Committee, will expire on Jan. 1, 2017.
TWO TECHNICAL ISSUES CITED
On the advice of the independent Local Elections Committee, the Guild's Executive Committee proposed the rerun in May and later agreed to its terms after the Labor Department flagged two technical issues during an investigation that followed an objection to the November election by Jeff Blyskal, a member of the Consumer Reports unit, who was unaffiliated with either campaign. The two issues – the first of which was never raised in Blyskal's appeal to the department, while the other was mentioned only as an aside – were:
- About 3 percent of the 2,870 Guild members to whom ballots were mailed never received them because of bad addresses, and
- 50 returned ballots that were not enclosed in the required inner white envelope were disqualified, the result of a unanimous decision by the Elections Committee with which representatives of both slates agreed.
The Labor Department, while not reaching any conclusions about the two issues, said the unreturned and uncounted ballots could have affected the outcome of the races, most of which were decided by two to three dozen votes. Fewer than one-quarter of the 2,870 ballots that were mailed out were actually returned, and 63 of those, including the 50 cited by the department, were disqualified for various reasons with the agreement of both campaigns.
Blyskal's March 17 appeal to the Labor Department claimed the 15-day span between the mailing of ballots and the deadline for returning them wasn't long enough, that the numbering of ballots compromised voter confidentiality, that O'Meara's appearances on employer premises for union business constituted improper campaigning and that incumbent officers used the Guild's email access to its members to their advantage by issuing a Bulletin about the election.
BLYSKAL'S PROPOSED 'DIGITAL DEBATE'
Blyskal also accused Guild leaders of coercing Consumers Union management into not allowing its email system to be used by him “as an independent journalist” to moderate a “digital debate” between the two top candidates. The Local Elections Committee had urged the company not to allow its email system to be used for the debate because of concerns that use of employer resources could be a basis for the Labor Department to invalidate the election. The company's own labor counsel advised against it as well.
Blyskal's appeal followed a rejection of his complaint by the Local Elections Committee. Blyskal had also filed a complaint about the election with the National Labor Relations Board, which dismissed it.
More recently, Blyskal complained to the department that a June 24 Local Bulletin announcing government approval of the uniquely designed Adjustable Pension Plan the Guild had negotiated into The New York Times and Consumer Reports contracts, amounted to unfair campaigning by Guild leaders in the rerun election. In urging the department to reject the complaint, the Guild said the report was part of normal union business. “Indeed, had the Guild not reported this in a public and transparent fashion, we wonder whether Mr. Blyskal would have filed a complaint about the Guild’s failure to keep the membership informed,” the Guild said in a written response filed with the department. The department has not responded to the complaint.
Glickson had initially challenged the November election results as well but decided in February not to appeal the rejection of his complaint by the Local Elections Committee.
DEMOCRATIC COALITION SLATE
President Bill O’Meara – Registered
Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely – Registered
Local Chairperson Karen Rohan – Foreign Policy
1st Vice President Randye Gilliam - Standard & Poor’s (already elected)
2nd Vice President Grant Glickson - New York Times
3rd Vice President Kathy Wilmore – Scholastic
R. A. Chair Anna Pierdiluca - Consumers Union
R.A. Vice Chair Oscar Hernandez - El Diario (already elected)
Executive Board Members:
Steve Berman – New York Times
Michael Conte – Jersey Journal
Emily Flitter – Thomson Reuters
Emilio Gonzalez – Consumers Union
Dan Grebler – Thomson Reuters
Sonia Guerra – El Diario
Mohammad Montasir Islam – Hudson News
Lamar Jones – Amsterdam News
Lan Lecour – Standard & Poor’s
Elaine Lindsay – Writers Guild
Mindy Matthews – New York Times
Jim Pearson - New York Times
Joe Punday – WPIX
Mabel Rodriguez – Standard & Poor’s
Eric Russ – Scholastic
John Shostrom – Time Inc.
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