Newspaper Guild Cuts Budget, Payments by Locals

By: E&P Staff

The Newspaper Guild is cutting next year’s budget by $415,000, or 13.9%, and for the first time in its history reducing the dues payments union locals make to the national organization — moves reflecting the layoffs and wage reductions suffered by members.

The 12-cent reduction in monthly per-capita dues is a signal that unionized journalists’ wages are declining on average, the Guild Reporter said in an unbylined article. Per capita payments are based on the average top reporter minimum in Guild contracts.

“We have taken steps to curtail spending,” Guild national President Bernie Lunzer wrote in a  message to locals. “A support position has been eliminated and a couple of staff positions have not been filled. . . . We are cutting back on travel, postage and printing.”

In the search for new revenues, Lunzer wrote, sector conference delegates will be asked to approve constitutional changes permitting the union to tap into the Guild Mobilization and Defense Fund.

Originally a strike fund that now has at $1.8 million, the fund was funded through a separate per-capita levy and has been used mostly for contract campaign expenses, with strike benefits paid by a fund of the union’s parent CWA.

The Guild’s executive committee is proposing to uses the money for operating expenses so long as it maintains a balance of at least $1.125 million.

“This is a reasonable way to use current resources to help solve our shortfall,” Lunzer wrote. “It maintains our GMDF. It will give us breathing room as we continue to find ways to save money on operations. It allows us to fulfill our mission.” The Guild’s budgetary year begins July 1.

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