New Year, new contract and new leadership

Dear Friends,                                                                                                     Dec. 23, 2016

I wanted to share with you some year-end Guild news relating to the copy editors, the custodians, the contract and your Guild leadership.

First, the copy editors that will be leaving us as of Dec. 31 are Gregg Montgomery, Ron Trojanowski, Steve Bacon and Bill Huddleston. All of them are true pros. We will miss their dedication to journalism, to quality and to the Star. Above all, we will miss their friendship. We wish them well in whatever the future holds. Remaining in the two new hybrid proofreading/production roles will be Emily Kuzniar and Bob Thomas on a full-time basis and Joe Mutascio on a part-time basis.

Second, our efforts to draw attention to the lack of pay increases for our building services workers at the printing plant was not in vain. The Guild has been informed that all seven of the custodians will receive pay raises retroactive to July by year’s end. We are still awaiting word on the size of those raises. I would add that, through the generosity of our members, each of the custodians received an extra Kroger gift card in addition to the one the Guild provided.

Third, Tony Cook and I signed the contract on Friday; we will be getting printed and bound copies to you as soon as possible. A digital version should be posted here soon.

Finally, after signing the contract, I announced my resignation as Guild president, effective Jan. 1, 2017. I did this with a posting on the bulletin board and with short letter to the other Guild officers.

I’ve been the Guild’s president for nearly six years and through three bargaining seasons – and frankly, I’m tired. It’s time for someone else to take the lead. We need some fresh energy and fresh ideas and there are plenty of people on the current Guild leadership team – and among the membership – who can provide that. It became clear to me that if I didn’t step aside completely, that wouldn’t happen. I waited until this contract was signed to share a decision I made several weeks ago. I made it effective on Jan. 1 so I could ensure that our copy editors would be taken care of.

Starting in the New Year, though, the Guild will be in the capable hands of your current Guild executive team – vice presidents Tony Cook and Bob Scheer, treasurer Mark Alesia and secretary Emily Kuzniar. It’s important to remember, however, that the strength of the Guild isn’t in the leadership; it’s in the unity, support and activism of the members.

Best regards to you all in the New Year,

Bobby

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