Archive for April, 2010

Labor Mass this Sunday

Friday, April 30th, 2010

The annual labor mass is 9 a.m. this Sunday at the Shrine of St. Joseph in downtown St. Louis, 1220 North 11th Street.  The Shrine is located on the corner of 11th and Biddle.  You need not be Catholic to attend and the mass is usually attended by a wide variety of union members and union leadership.

Prior to the mass, there is an (8:30 a.m.) outside ceremony to honor all those who died on the job in the past 12 months.  Mass is celebrated by Fr. Rich Creason (labor’s priest) and, following the mass, everyone proceeds to Maggie O’Brien’s for brunch.  While there is a cost for the brunch, our local has historically picked up that cost for any members that attend.

Should you go, I will see you there!

Weigh in NOW on the Future of Media at the FCC!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010


This is of the utmost urgency – please pass it on to members. The link below takes you to a form that sends your ideas directly to the FCC. The future of media is up to us.

Bernie Lunzer – TNG-CWA President


The message below is from Free Press:

Last weekend, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps told journalist Bill Moyers that our many media problems won’t get resolved “until the American people really get fired up about them… We’ve got to send a message to all of our elected representatives and everybody else that we’re expecting some action.  The future is now.”


Copps is right. Send a clear message today that our media can be so much better than it is.  We’ve created a simple website where you can easily send your comments. Add your voice to build the record for better media today.


Right now, every citizen has the ear of the Federal Communications Commission. The agency is seeking feedback from you about the state of our media. Now’s your chance to tell it you want more local news, more diversity on the airwaves and a faster, more open Internet.


Your feedback will actually inform an upcoming report for Congress and the President on the state of our nation’s media. Free Press is working overtime to ensure that what you and thousands of others tell the FCC now will clear a path for leaders to improve our media.


If we don’t weigh in, the FCC will only hear from corporate executives and big media lobbyists, who will be calling for more of the bad policies that have gutted newsrooms, destroyed community-based media outlets and sparked a corporate takeover of our Internet.

Josh Sterns

Program Manager

Free Press


AFA-CWA to Testify on Bankruptcy Bill

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Hearings are expected in late May on legislation that would substantially reform the nation’s bankruptcy laws. The AFL-CIO is urging members of Congress to co-sponsor the “Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2010.”

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-MI, and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-IL, would place restrictions on corporations that use the bankruptcy system as a backdoor way to slash wages and benefits for current workers and break their promises to retirees.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has been invited to testify next month. TNG and IUE-CWA members also are among those who have been harmed the most by current bankruptcy laws. Through the years, the bankruptcy system has changed from one of “last resort” for corporations facing potential ruin to one in which the system is subverted by corporations who use accounting tricks to reorganize and often evade labor costs.

This week in labor history

Monday, April 26th, 2010
Today in Labor History

for the week of April 26, 2010

April 26
The U.S. House of Representatives passes House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved by the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending – 1924

On the orders of President Roosevelt, the U.S. Army seizes the Chicago headquarters of the unionized Montgomery Ward & Co. after management defies the National Labor Relations Board – 1944

April 27
First strike for 10 hour day, by Boston carpenters – 1825

James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses” published in IWW newspaper “Industrial Solidarity” – 1946

President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements for Government Employment. The order listed “sexual perversion” as a condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment to potential applicants – 1953

April 28
Coal mine collapses at Eccles, W.Va., killing 181 workers – 1914

119 die in Benwood, W.Va. coal mine disaster – 1924

United Wallpaper Craftsmen & Workers of North America merges with Pulp, Sulfite & Paper Mill Workers – 1958

American Federation of Hosiery Workers merges with Textile Workers Union of America – 1965

Congress creates OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The AFL-CIO sets April 28 as “Workers Memorial Day” to honor the hundreds of thousands of workers killed and injured on the job every year – 1970.

First “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” promoted by the Ms. Foundation, to boost self-esteem of girls with invitations to a parent’s workplace – 1993

April 29
Coxey’s Army (pictured above) of 500 unemployed civil war veterans reaches Washington, DC – 1894

When their demand that only union men be employed was refused, members of the Western Federation of Miners dynamited and destroyed the $250,000 mill of the Bunker Hill Company at Wardner, Idaho – 1899

April 30
An explosion at the Everettville mine in Everettville, W. Va., kills 109 miners, many of whom lie in unmarked graves to this day – 1927

May 01
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones born in County Cork, Ireland – 1830

Cigar makers in Cincinnati warn there could be a strike in the Fall if factory owners continue to insist that they pay 30 cents per month for gas consumed at work during mornings and evenings – 1883

Eight-hour day demonstration in Chicago, and other cities, begins tradition of May Day as international labor holiday – 1886

Nineteen machinists working for the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad gather in a locomotive pit to decide what to do about a wage cut. They vote to form a union, which later became the International Association of Machinists – 1888

The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union strikes in San Francisco, demanding one day of rest per week, a ten-hour work day and a union shop for all restaurants in the city – 1901

Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebrated at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. She died six months later – 1930

New York City’s Empire State Building officially opens. Construction involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, and hundreds of Mohawk iron workers. Five workers died during construction – 1931

Congress enacts amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments – protections which didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges and regulation-writing problems – 1974

The Federal minimum wage rises to $2.00 per hour – 1974

International Molders & Allied Workers Union merges with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union – 1988

Woodworkers of America International merges with International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1994

International Leather Goods, Plastics & Novelty Workers Union merges with Service Employees International Union – 1996

Rallies in cities across the U.S. for what organizers call “A Day Without Immigrants.” An estimated 100,000 immigrants and sympathizers gathered in San Jose, Calif., 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles.  In all, there were demonstrations in at least 50 cities – 2006

May 02
Chicago’s first Trades Assembly, formed three years earlier, sponsors a general strike by thousands of workers to enforce the state’s new eight hour day law. The one-week strike was unsuccessful – 1867

Birth of Richard Trevellick, a ship carpenter, founder of American National Labor Union and later head of the National Labor Congress, America’s first national labor organization – 1830

First Workers’ Compensation law in U.S. enacted, in Wisconsin – 1911

Pres. Herbert Hoover declares that the stock market crash six months earlier was just a “temporary setback” and the economy would soon bounce back. In fact the Great Depresssion was to continue and worsen for several more years - 1930

In Germany, Adolph Hitler issues an edict abolishing all labor unions, part of his effort to ban any political opposition – 1933

Toil and Trouble, by Thomas R. Brooks; American Labor Struggles, by Samuel Yellen; IWW calendar, Solidarity Forever; Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor, edited by Robert E. Weir and James P. Hanlan; Southwest Labor History Archives/George Meany Center; Geov Parrish’s Radical History; workday Minnesota; Andy Richards and Adam Wright, AFL-CIO Washington DC Metro Council (graphics research).

Newsroom cuts seriously affecting diversity

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Richard Prince, of the Maynard Institute, writes about this disturbing trend in his blog.  Here’s the link:

Update on low-deductible arbitration ruling

Monday, April 19th, 2010

As announced on this website February 20, the Guild won its grievance protesting Lee’s arbitrary changing of our (yellow contract) retiree’s medical coverage from a low-deductible 90/10 plan to a mid-deductible 80/20 plan.  In the decision handed down by the arbitrator, he quoted liberally from our brief and framed the issues and arguments as we had first suggested when we filed our grievance.

Since that announcement we have received calls and emails from retirees wanting to know when they can expect to receive something from the company.  The answer to that is very soon.

There are two separate components of the make whole remedy.  First, all retirees are entitled to be reimbursed for the difference between the mid and low deductible amounts.  Second, the employer must provide 90/10% co-insurance, instead of 80/20% co-insurance.

I have been in contact with the company about this.  They have been computing who is due what and will soon send out the first checks to those under the age of 65 who are due reimbursement for the year 2009.  Almost immediately  after that (within 10 days) they will send checks to those over age 65 also due reimbursement for 2009.  Finally, there is the issue of those who are due reimbursement for the year 2010.  The company has stated that they need to wait until mid-June in order to allow all claims be processed.  That makes sense and so retirees due a reimbursement for this year should see a check by the fourth of July.  When you get it, go buy some fireworks and celebrate. We have a lot of retirees who will be receiving some serious coin – I’m already aware of eight who will receive over $1,000.  All told, this award  means over $60,000 will be repaid to Guild retirees.  Proof that it doesn’t cost – it PAYS – to belong to a union.

When your check arrives, please check your records to make sure that you are receiving the correct amount.  If you think something amiss, let the company know but please notify this office as well.  Thanks.

This week in labor history

Monday, April 19th, 2010
Today in Labor History

for the week of April 19, 2010

April 19
An American domestic terrorist’s bomb destroys the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people, 99 of whom were government employees – 1995

April 20
10,000 demonstrators celebrate textile workers’ win of a 10-percent pay hike and grievance committees after a one-month strike, Lowell, Mass. – 1912

Ludlow massacre:  Colorado state militia, using machine guns and fire, kill about 20 people—including 11 children—at a tent city set up by striking coal miners – 1914

United Auto Workers leader Walter Reuther is shot and seriously wounded by would-be assassins – 1948

National Association of Post Office Mail Handlers, Watchmen, Messengers & Group Leaders merge with Laborers – 1968

United Auto Workers members end a successful 172 day strike against International Harvester, protesting management demands for new work rules and mandatory overtime provisions – 1980

April 21
New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signs Taylor Law, permitting union organization and bargaining by public employees, but outlawing the right to strike – 1967

Some 12,500 Goodyear Tire workers strike nine plants in what was to become a three week walkout over job security, wage and benefit issues – 1997

April 23
Death of Ida Mae Stull, nationally recognized as the country’s first woman coal miner – 1980

United Farm Workers of America founder Cesar Chavez dies in San Luis, Ariz., at age 66 – 1993

April 24
The International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union halts shipping on the West Coast in solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Philadelphia journalist whom many believed was on death row because he was an outspoken African-American – 1999

April 25
The New York Times declares the struggle for an eight-hour workday to be “un-American” and calls public demonstrations for the shorter hours “labor disturbances brought about by foreigners.” Other publications declare that an eight-hour workday day would bring about “loafing and gambling, rioting, debauchery and drunkenness” – 1886

IWW Marine Transport Workers begin West Coast strike – 1923

The Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and 100 others are arrested while picketing a Charleston, S.C. hospital in a demand for union recognition – 1969

Supreme Court rules that employers may not require female employees to make larger contributions to pension plans in order to obtain the same monthly benefits as men – 1978

Toil and Trouble, by Thomas R. Brooks; American Labor Struggles, by Samuel Yellen; IWW calendar, Solidarity Forever; Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor, edited by Robert E. Weir and James P. Hanlan; Southwest Labor History Archives/George Meany Center; Geov Parrish’s Radical History; workday Minnesota; Andy Richards and Adam Wright, AFL-CIO Washington DC Metro Council (graphics research).

Keith Schildroth fundraiser, Friday evening at Yacovelli’s

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Keith Schildroth, a 32-year Guild member and longtime steward – until he was caught in one of the rounds of the Post-Dispatch’s lay offs in September of 2008 – is running for an open seat in the Missouri House of Representatives’ 76th District.  The areas comprises various parts of North County municipalities, including Florissant, where Schildroth has served as city councilman since 2005.


Schildroth’s employment at the P-D could be termed something of a family affair, as both his sister (Mary Reilly, advisors) and father (Rudy Schildroth, printer) once earned their living helping put out the paper.


Schildroth’s record on labor-related issues is stellar and he has already garnered various endorsements, including the Communication Workers of America (CWA), with which TNG is proudly affiliated, as well as many labor and civic leaders.  State Senator Tim Green, president of the Missouri Building Trades Association and himself a member of IBEW Local 1, is co-hosting the event along with Florissant Mayor Robert Lowery.


It should be stated that The Newspaper Guild does not endorse candidates.  This information is being offered for several reasons.  First, to let old friends know how a former colleague is faring and, second, to let those individuals decide for themselves whether or not to get involved.  However, in the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I have written Keith’s campaign a personal check in the amount of $47, to acknowledge and honor the many years he spent as a steward and activist for what was then Local 47.


Yacavelli’s is a family restaurant, located at 407 Dunn Road in Florissant, along the north side of HWY 270.  The fundraiser runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and costs $25.  Of course, should you want to donate MORE to Keith’s campaign, he would be only too glad to accept your donation.


It’s heartening to see a person of Keith’s caliber doing so well after leaving the P-D and it would be a good thing, I think, if our P-D members were to let those in management also know about this, so they may come if so inclined.


For friends and former colleagues who want to learn more about Keith’s campaign or who want to send an old friend a donation, check out his website:



Obama administration issues rule that benefits union construction workers

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Effective tomorrow, the administration encourages all federal agencies to require project labor agreements (PLAs) on construction projects costing more than $25 million.  Here’s the link:

Newspaper Guild-CWA Executive Council calls on President to investigate circumstances surrounding the killing of journalists

Friday, April 9th, 2010

After the release of a government-suppressed video of the shooting deaths of more than a dozen Iraqis, including a Reuters photographer and his assistant, the executive council of The Newspaper Guild-CWA calls on President Barack Obama to order an independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding such killings. The Guild represents more than 400 journalists and other employees at Reuters.

The 17-minute clip, posted by on Monday, April 5, includes footage of Apache helicopters opening fire on several people as they stand and walk along a Baghdad street, along with audio of the pilots’ conversation. Among those killed in the 2007 incident were photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant, Saeed Chmagh, 40. Other casualties included two children, plainly visible in a window of a van that was shot after it stopped to assist the wounded. A military investigation, however, concluded that U.S. forces had acted properly and no disciplinary action was taken.

“The video is shocking in its display of a callous disregard for human life,” said Guild President Bernie Lunzer. “The 17-minute video shows no Iraqi provocation or evidence that U.S. forces came under fire. The Pentagon has claimed otherwise. The American people deserve to know the truth, and the U.S. military’s role should be fully investigated.”

The International Federation of Journalists, whose affiliates include the Guild and journalists’ groups in 150 countries around the world, echoes the Guild’s call for a proper inquiry, noting that the government’s investigations to date appear to have placed a primary emphasis on exonerating military personnel. The IFJ said it has catalogued 19 cases since March, 2003 in which journalists and media staff have died at the hands of U.S. soldiers. “In all of these cases, families and friends of the killed journalists continue to wait for credible investigations and honest reports about how and why their loved ones died,” the IFJ noted.

The Guild’s Executive Council cited the Obama administration’s promise of greater transparency and its avowed commitment to human rights as reasons to hope that a full accounting finally may be at hand.