Our Local, the NewsGuild of New York, has become a stronger union over the last three years. We’ve won 27 contracts that set a new standard for our industry, grown our membership by 28% and proven to employers that we’re not afraid to do what it takes — including striking — to fight for our jobs. We also know that the fights ahead are only getting more difficult, and we need to make sure that we have the resources to hold management accountable and build a better future for workers in our industry.

This is why we, the elected membership of the NYGuild’s Executive Committee, are asking that you vote yes on an upcoming referendum to maintain our current dues rate, 1.75%, on a permanent basis.

A “yes” vote will keep our revenue stable and show management our union will stay in fighting shape for years to come.

Here’s everything you need to know:  

 

Voting, Timeline, & Replacement Ballots

The vote will be conducted by mail ballot. Ballots shall be mailed to all eligible voters on May 29, 2024. Ballots shall be due back by 9 AM ESTJune 26, 2024.  Ballots received after June 26 will be invalid and will not be counted. 

All members in good standing as of May 20, 2024 shall be eligible to vote. Pursuant to Article XIV, Section 1 of the TNG-CWA Constitution and the historical practices of the Guild, Organizing Members who have completed and submitted to the Guild a membership card by 12 PM EST on May 20, 2024 shall be eligible to vote. Organizing Members are Guild members employed in units that have been certified but are not yet working under a collective bargaining agreement.

Eligible voters must request a replacement ballot between June 7, 2024 and no later than 12 PM EST on June 14, 2024.  Instructions on requesting a replacement ballot and for members not receiving a ballot shall be posted on the union website by June 3 and shall remain on the union website through June 14. After June 6, you can contact Global Election Services to update or request a replacement ballot.  (Phone: 1-877-455-9367, E-mail: helpdesk@voteges.com)

In order to pass, the referendum needs simple majority support from voting members. The Guild will inform members of the results immediately after the vote is tallied.

 

The timeline is as follows:

May 20, 2024: Last day to become a member in good standing for voting eligibility

May 29, 2024: Ballots will be mailed to each member’s address on file with the Guild

June 14, 2024: Replacement ballot request deadline (must be received no later than 12pm EST).

June 26, 2024: Ballots must be received by 9am EST by Global Election Services  

June 26, 2024: Ballots will be counted. 

 

Instruction For Requesting a Replacement Ballot:

Members who have not received a ballot by June 7 should contact Global Election Services by phone at: 877-455-9367 or by email at: helpdesk@voteges.com no later than 12 PM EST on June 14, 2024.

Each member must call GES personally and provide their name, Member ID and a callback phone number. Do not call the union office for ballot requests.

Your Member ID number is on your union card. If you cannot locate your Member ID, call the Local at 212-575-1580 or email Tim Try at the Guild's membership office.

 

 

 

 

 


Quick Key Guide:
Unit = Us! A group of members who have organized to join our union, working for the same employer
Local/Guild
 = Also Us! The NewsGuild of New York
International/TNG-CWA = Us Too! Our parent union, The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America
Executive Committee = All of Us! The leadership body of our Local

What happens if I vote yes?

If you vote yes, you are approving making permanent the dues rate you have been paying the last three years, 1.75%.

What will this change for me?

If the membership approves this referendum, nothing will change. We are already paying 1.75% today. We will continue to do so.

What do I need to know about the referendum?

Three years ago, the Executive Committee, which is made up of democratically elected members from across our union, recommended a permanent dues increase to address our deficit spending due to our rapidly growing union and better build and maintain the resources necessary to be a strong union. Members requested that the dues increase be temporary for a three-year period. The EC ultimately accepted that proposal with the caveat that we would revisit our financial situation at the end of that period. That temporary increase is set to expire on September 30, 2024. A dues working group, made up of members from shops across our union, discussed making the rate permanent as well as alternatives. The members of the EC listened to all the options and then approved by a vote of 40-3-3 to adopt the working group’s majority recommendation to make permanent the current 1.75%.

Why is the EC recommending a permanent dues rate of 1.75%?

Our current dues rate of 1.75% has partially accomplished what it was intended to do: it has lifted our union out of deficit spending while ensuring we are able to bargain strong first and successor contracts, support job actions and strikes, manage internal and new organizing campaigns and keep our union growing and strong. However, we need to rebuild our reserves in order to remain fiscally strong and assured of our ability to continue to best represent and defend our members, and be prepared for the fights ahead.

Why not do another temporary measure?

Our Executive Committee created a Dues Working Group, composed of both leaders and rank-and-file members, which was tasked with examining this question. After analyzing the Guild’s finances and our future forecasts, they determined 1.75% was an appropriate rate moving forward to achieve the goals of our union. The majority of Dues Working Group members recommended that 1.75% become a permanent rate, and the Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly to accept the recommendation and bring it to members for a vote. Based on the financial analysis, achieving our goals will be a multi-year process, and passing another temporary increase would mean unnecessarily kicking the can down the road. Additionally, without a vote to permanently change the dues rate, the default rate will remain the minimum 1.3846% as put forth in the NewsGuild constitution, a rate that our financial analysis shows would put us back in deficit spending and drain our emergency fund.

Does “permanent” mean we are stuck with this rate, no matter what?

Nope! Our union has many built-in structures to ensure we are democratic and responsive to our members. The executive committee has the ability to call for a referendum on dues at any point, like it did three years ago. Our bylaws also allow members to call for a referendum by collecting signatures on a petition from at least 10 percent of local membership.

Why doesn’t the Guild just cut spending?

The Executive Committee closely monitors spending, while also making sure not to reduce the support and resources available to members. We cut legal spending by about 30 percent between the ’21-’22 and ’22-’23 fiscal years and cut total expenses by about 3 percent, during a time of extreme inflation. The largest chunk of expenses is for what we call member servicing, which includes legal expenses, salaries and benefits for the local staff who support our work, arbitration fees, etc. We also did not fill three staff positions, adding to the savings. (Other large expenses are outside of the local’s control, including CWA per capita payments (dues we pay to our parent union, CWA), rent and property taxes.) The EC acted in its capacity as the leadership body for this union by determining a reserve amount that would enable us to weather all kinds of fights with management and unexpected challenges, like shop closures. 

How transparent is the Guild on finances?

Every budget and audit is reviewed and voted on by our EC, which includes democratically elected representatives from all of our units. These are presented during our monthly executive committee meetings, which we encourage members to attend by sending out a notice when finances will be discussed. We present a detailed financial report at our biannual membership meetings, and Anthony Napoli, the treasurer for the NY Guild, also holds monthly office hours.

Why should I vote then?

Members should take pride in the democratic structures of our union, and participate in them! Voting yes on our current dues rate shows that we are all invested in strengthening our union for years to come, and sends a strong message to our employers that our strength has not wavered. It will also signal to employers that we are prepared for the fights to come.

Why am I being told to vote yes?

The choice on how to vote is and always has been up to you, our members. We as the EC are strongly recommending that you vote yes.

What happens if the referendum fails?
If this referendum fails, the dues rate will revert to the original, constitutional minimum 1.3846% on October 1, 2024. This will have serious, immediate consequences for our union, the first of which will be the return to deficit spending. Other likely results could include large cutbacks to member services, including but not limited to reduced legal support, reduced ability to arbitrate and staff cuts. Additionally, our bylaws have an automatic trigger:
 
When the Local Emergency Fund falls below $500,000, monthly dues shall be increased by 1% of a member's basic weekly salary (shift differential included). This additional 1% shall be deposited in the Local Emergency Fund.
 
We project this change would happen within 12–24 months if we return to the 1.3846% rate.
How has the Guild made use of the increased dues revenue over the past three years?

Our dues have been spent on ensuring our union is as strong as it can possibly be. We have eliminated deficit spending, and are now in a position to rebuild our reserves. We’ve won 27 contracts – including first contracts like Condé Union’s. Combined, the Condé shops represent the second largest membership at the NY Guild. These contracts have set new  standards for our industry. Along with that we’ve boosted our membership through organizing by nearly 27%.

1.75% is too high.

1.75% was determined to be the appropriate dues rate by the Dues Working Group. Our dues are just as much as an investment in our financial, professional and personal health as any other expenditure, and they provide just as much value to us.

What do my dues get me?

Dues pay for all of the work our union does on our behalf – bargaining and enforcing contracts, organizing new members, training and membership development, staff salaries and benefits, office space, legal support and services, etc. All of this costs money. Dues allow us to fight increasingly aggressive management teams that have recently engaged in illegal layoffs, driven members to strike with their intransigence at bargaining tables, forced the filing of many grievances and Unfair Labor Practice charges, and more. We are going to need all the resources we can muster to continue to defend our jobs, our union and our industry.

 

 

Do you have questions? We are here to help!

* Office hours: Come ask leaders any questions you have on why you should vote yes. 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 5 and Wednesday, June 12. Register here 

* Town hall: Learn more about this important dues referendum: 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 11; Register here

 

 

RULES FOR THE 2024 NEWSGUILD OF NEW YORK DUES INCREASE REFERENDUM

Rules for the referendum. (56.5 KiB)

Pursuant to Article V Section 5 of the Bylaws of the NewsGuild of New York, Local 31003, CWA,
AFL-CIO (the “Guild”), the Local Election Committee adopts the following rules for the
referendum:


1. SCHEDULE:


a. Eligibility cutoff shall be May 20, 2024. All members in good standing as of May 20,
2024 shall be eligible to vote.
b. Ballots shall be mailed on May 29, 2024.
c. Members may request a replacement ballot between noon on June 7, 2024 and noon on
June 14, 2024. Instructions on requesting a replacement ballot and for members not receiving
a ballot shall be posted on the union website by May [ ] 2024.
c. Ballots shall be due on June 26, 2024. Ballots received after June 26, 2024 shall not
be counted and shall not be valid.
d. Ballots shall be counted on June 26, 2024.
e. The referendum shall be conducted by mail ballot.


2. BALLOT LANGUAGE:


DO YOU APPROVE THE FOLLOWING CHANGE AS RECOMMENDED BY THE NY
GUILD EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF THE UNION


- Permanently increase the dues rate from 1.3846% to 1.75%


For more information regarding these proposed changes, please go to: nyguild.org/guild-strong


3. VOTING INSTRUCTIONS:


a. Write nothing on the ballot other than the voting mark.
b. Ballots with any identifying information on them - the person’s name, initials, or any
other identifying information - will be voided.
c. Other voting instructions approved of by the Local Election Committee will be
included with the ballot. Ballots must be mailed and marked in conformity with the voting
instructions accompanying the ballot.


4. VOTE COUNT:


Votes will be counted under the supervision of the Local Election Committee by Global
Election Services. The election shall be decided by a majority of valid ballots cast. The Local
Election Committee shall, in writing, certify the referendum results and immediately send the
results and certification to the Local Secretary-Treasurer.


5. ELIGIBILITY DISPUTES:


The Local Election Committee shall determine all voter eligibility disputes.


6. POST-REFERENDUM PROTESTS:


Any member wishing to file a post-referendum protest must submit it in writing to the
Local Election Committee by no later than midnight, July 9, 2024. Protests must be submitted
via email to: hkolko@cwsny.com Appeals from decisions of the Local Election Committee on
post-referendum protests shall be made to the Local Executive Committee, in writing, by no
later than midnight, July 19, 2024. Such appeals must be submitted via email to:
assistant@nyguild.org


7. NOTIFICATION OF MEMBERSHIP:


The Guild shall notify the membership of the results of the referendum in is newsletter
and on its website.


8. PRESERVATION OF RECORDS:


The Guild shall preserve records of the referendum for one year.


9. POSTING OF THESE RULES


The Guild shall post these rules on its website by no later than midnight, May 15, 2024.