National Newspaper Guild Staying Out of Boston Unit Probe

By: Joe Strupp Newspaper Guild President Bernie Lunzer believes the growing problems at the Boston Newspaper Guild, in which the local president has been placed on leave pending charges of alleged improper financial activities, will not adversely impact the local unit.

He also said the national office is not getting directly involved in the local investigation, at least not at this point.

"The rule of thumb is that locals resolve these matters and we do not get involved unless they ask us or they have exhausted all of their resources," Lunzer told E&P Wednesday. "I believe it will repair itself one way or another."

Lunzer commented a day after reports that Boston Newspaper Guild President Dan Totten had taken a medical leave as local union leaders there prepared to file charges against him, including allegations that he signed the name of another union official on a check, according to The Boston Globe

Once charges are filed, the union would have 60 days to hold a trial with a seven-person jury of guild members selected by lottery, the Globe added.

Totten did not respond to e-mails from E&P. Lunzer said local Vice President Scott Steeves was acting as the local's administrator in Totten's absence. He was not immediately available for comment.

Totten has served as president since 2005 and came under scrutiny in recent months for his handling of union negotiations with the Globe that resulted in a new contract in July that included $10 million in concessions, including a 5.8% pay cut. That followed the rejection of an earlier contract in June that would have included an 8.4% salary reduction.

"The national union is making sure that all of the process is being followed meticulously," Lunzer said of the Boston situation. "I think it is going to work out. We are watching it, monitoring it and we have our New England representative talking to them on a daily basis."

Lunzer declined to speculate on Totten's guilt or innocence, saying, "we will see what the investigation shows. We don't know what it means yet. I wasn't there, I haven't conducted the investigation."

He did note that an investigation had to occur once the treasurer filed charges: "That created the investigation."


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