Two activists named winners of 2014 Keenan Award


Standard & Poor’s Unit Chair Randye Gilliam and Hudson News Grievance Chair Montasir Islam, both of whom had central roles in their respective contract negotiations last year, were named winners of the Guild’s 2014 Keenan Award.

The award will be presented at a meeting open to all Guild members on Tuesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m. The Guild’s semi-annual membership meeting also will feature reports from Local Chair Karen Rohan, President Bill O’Meara and Secretary-Treasurer Peter Szekely. Light refreshments will be served.

The Guild’s Administrative Committee, which is charged with selecting a winner, decided to give two Keenan Awards this year, as it has done occasionally in the past, because of the high level of dedication of each nominee.

Islam, whose nomination was signed by more than 140 of his co-workers, won the Guild’s No. 2 unit officer position at Hudson News in a contested election last fall and was instrumental in leading the unit through a round of contract talks for several weeks while the company unsuccessfully disputed the legitimacy of Unit Chair Kazi Islam (no relation) to serve in his office.

Gilliam, a longtime activist and, for the past two years, the New York region’s representative on the TNG-CWA Executive Council, became unit chair at S&P after her predecessor, Ed Fannon, retired from the company at the end of 2012. In her new role, she guided the unit through an outsourcing assault and a difficult round of contract negotiations in which retirement benefits and employment security were key issues. The three-year agreement was overwhelmingly ratified.

In assessing the nominees for the Thomas M. Keenan Newspaper Guild of New York Service Award, the Administrative Committee was tasked with selecting the nominee who “has performed above and beyond the call of duty in service to the New York Local, and best exemplifies the ideals of a true labor leader, in the spirit of Tom Keenan.”

Tom Keenan, a longtime activist, chaired The Times unit for 14 years, longer than anyone else, before joining the Guild staff as a representative in 1998. The award bearing his name was established 1999, after Keenan was stricken with cancer. He died in December 2000. 

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