Gonzalez to State Assembly; Barrera Heads Labor
May 24, 2013
San Diego labor leader Lorena Gonzalez picked up a stunning 73% of the vote in a special election Tuesday to represent the California State Assembly 80th District. On Wednesday, she resigned her position as San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council CEO and delegates promptly elected San Diego Unified School Board Trustee Richard Barrera to take the helm of the coalition of 135 local unions, which represents more than 200,000 working families in the area.
Gonzalez will replace Ben Hueso who was elected to the State Senate to represent the 40th District. Hueso replaced Juan Vargas who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Vargas replaced Bob Filner who was elected as Mayor of San Diego.
"Thank you for giving me the great honor of representing you," Gonzalez told Labor Council delegates. "From the heads of our unions who have shared their wisdom and vision to my incredible staff who have fought countless battles with me, to every single rank and file member who kept me honest and gave me my purpose each day, know that I would not be standing here without you. I can never thank you enough for being the movement that I have had the great honor to lead for five and a half years."
"You won't be losing me entirely though! I will remain a delegate to this Labor Council, and I'll still be active in our community as we continue the work for more jobs, better jobs, and better lives for all of San Diego's working families, union and non-union," Gonzalez said.
Local 54 President Dennis Csillag praised Gonzalez as a strong ally in the 6-year struggle for a new contract for employees at KGTV. "She was essential in helping to build a strategy against the former owners (McGraw-Hill) to get a successful conclusion here. At the same time, her building of a community coalition to play a bigger role in the political arena also benefitted our members," Csillag said.
Gonzalez recommended Barrera to replace her at the Labor Council. “Richard’s tireless work in San Diego as a community organizer and on behalf of both union members and all working families for true economic justice is well known throughout San Diego and I couldn’t imagine leaving the Labor Council in better hands,” Gonzalez said.
Barrera served five years as president of the Consensus Organizing Institute and has worked as San Diego regional organizer for both the United Domestic Workers and United Healthcare Workers.
Barrera will keep his part-time position at San Diego Unified, saying he sees the work he'll do with the council as aligned with his work on the school board. "What it's really about is building support for working families in our region, including, of course, working families who have kids in our school district," Barrera said.
"Lorena's leadership of this Labor Council is the stuff of legend, and I'm honored to continue the work that she's led for so many years. Working families have built tremendous power for themselves in San Diego, and I can't wait to keep pushing to grow our middle class, protect workers on the job, and stay on the path to achieve economic justice for every San Diegan."
ABC Members Ratify New Four-Year Contract
May 10, 2013
NABET-CWA members have ratified a new four-year agreement between the Union and the American Broadcasting Companies (ABC) to replace the one that expired March 31, 2011.
NABET-CWA President James Joyce and the members of the five-city bargaining committee unanimously recommended that members ratify the offer.
The deal was reached in late March after a fifteen-hour mediation session in Washington, D.C. “After two-years of protracted negotiations, this latest round of mediation has produced a breakthrough, and this offer is now worthy of our members’ consideration,” Joyce said.
Enhancements from ABC’s last offer were obtained in the areas of economics, jurisdiction, and retirement benefits for staff and daily hire employees. The new contract also requires early negotiations for the next Master Agreement, commencing by October 1, 2016, with automatic involvement of Federal Mediators if a successor contract is not reached by March 1, 2017.
Scripps Q1 Revenue Down 3%
May 7, 2013
Scripps reported first quarter television station revenue of $96.9 million, down 2.7% from the same quarter last year. The 2013 numbers were up against $5.5 million of political and Super Bowl-related advertising in 2012. Increases in retransmission fees and digital and national advertising were not enough to offset declines in political and in local advertising.
Scripps' national advertising was up 4.6% while local was down 4.9%. Digital revenue in the first quarter increased 23% to $3.8 million. Revenue from retransmission consent agreements increased 35% to $10.4 million, primarily driven by rate increases in existing agreements.
Expenses for the TV station group declined 1.6% to $80.4 million, primarily due to lower syndicated programming costs.
"Following record-setting profit performance in 2012, we launched into 2013 determined to substantially upgrade our digital revenue platforms, launch a series of new local digital products, and rebuild our newspaper business models around bundled subscriptions for digital and print audiences," said Rich Boehne, president, chairman and CEO.
Boehne said 10 Scripps stations expanded local news ratings in the February sweeps, while two -- in Phoenix and Denver -- claimed coveted Peabody awards.
On May 2, Boehne was elected chairman of the Scripps board.
Scripps forecasts television revenues to be down low-single digits, including political, in the second quarter.
CWA Convention Wraps in Pittsburgh
April 24, 2013
Shop Steward Corinne Green represented Local 54 members this week as a delegate to the 74th Annual CWA Convention held in Pittsburgh, PA. Green said she "was immensely proud to have had the privilege of attending" the Convention. She took the opportunity on behalf of the Local to thank NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce, CWA President Larry Cohen, District 9 VP Jim Weitkamp and all participating unions for their "unwavering support during our 7-year long battle" against (former KGTV owner) McGraw-Hill's union-busting campaign. Green said the success was due "in large part to our fiercely dedicated members and the incredible support from our brothers and sisters." Local 54 members ratified a contract with new-owner Scripps on December 29.
Cohen challenged convention delegates to build a robust movement for democracy and economic justice. "Some may say this is too big a reach for our members," he said. "But this Executive Board and so many of you are saying, 'If not now, when?' If we don't build a much deeper movement now, when? Yes, it's hard, but it's not hopeless," he said. Read Cohen's full speech here or watch it here.
Adopting the recommendations of the Defense Fund Oversight Committee, delegates strengthened CWA's ability to fight for economic justice and to play offense in organizing, bargaining and other campaigns. Delegates approved recommendations to roll the Defense Fund into the Strategic Industry Fund and also voted to use one-half of the annual investment earnings from the Member Relief Fund to create the CWA Growth Fund, which will support CWA's movement building, organizing, leadership development, research, industry analysis and fight for economic justice. The balance in the MRF as of March 31 was $444,787,000.
Delegates also made changes to the CWA Constitution, establishing telecom bargaining councils, set a new mandatory retirement age of 70 for all full time elected Executive Board members and expanded participation in the National Committee on Civil Rights and Equity and the Women's Committee.
The delegates approved numerous Convention Resolutions supporting equality, unity and human rights.
Scripps SVP Lawlor Meets with Local 54 Members
April 11, 2013
Scripps Senior Vice President of Television Brian Lawlor, in San Diego for post-NAB management meetings, met exclusively with NABET-CWA-represented employees this morning at KGTV. This was Lawlor's first visit to the station since employees ratified a new collective bargaining agreement late last year.
Lawlor acknowledged the long struggle of employees under McGraw-Hill and said he was pleased an agreement was reached. Although it took longer than he wanted, Lawlor praised Union leaders for working together with him on the deal. He spoke about Scripps' commitment to the Station and detailed his plans for digital platforms and the return of KGTV to its long-held #1 position in the market.
Lawlor fielded questions from Local 54 members and took the time to meet with them one-on-one after the group meeting.
Earlier in the day, Lawlor met with Local 54 President Dennis Csillag and KGTV General Manager Jeff Block. "Our members were excited to hear his take on the business and the expectations he has for this station. Brian set the perfect tone for the kind of relationship he wants to have with them and their Union," Csillag said.
Remembering Don Jernigan
January 31, 2013
Retired NABET-CWA Staff Representative Don Jernigan passed away on January 29th following a brief illness.
Born in Dearborn Michigan in 1945, Don started working at the age of 12 as a paperboy in Wyandotte, MI. He was a lineman for Detroit Edison and boiler operator for a local hospital before turning to television. Starting on the studio crew, he eventually became a director, NABET Local President and served on the NABET International Executive Council, before moving to NABET-CWA as a Staff Representative. Don also produced and directed the video coverage of the CWA Convention for many years.
He was first assigned as the Local 54 representative in 1986. Although he officially retired in 2007, Don remained under contract with NABET-CWA to represent Local 54 through the 2011 sale of KGTV to Scripps. His last trip to San Diego was in March, 2011, when KGTV employees voted to keep NABET-CWA as their exclusive bargaining agent.
"He helped me lead a contingent of a hundred or so CWA activists to rally at the station after we successfully defeated the company orchestrated decert campaign," NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce said. "Don always put the members and his union first." Joyce said he was privileged to work with Don on the Local 54 negotiations and mobilization.
"Don was passionate about making sure that union members had a solid collective bargaining agreement," Local 54 President Dennis Csillag said. "He was much more than a staff rep. He was a friend, mentor and excellent strategic planner. He had the extraordinary ability to look at all sides of an issue and come up with the best solution. Our union family has suffered a great loss, but Don forged a strong bond with our Executive Board and members and his spirit lives on in the knowledge and passion he gave us."
Don spent the last years of his life living on Lake Anna (Virginia), where he spent a lot of time with good friends and family. He was an active member of both the Lake Anna Civic Association (LACA) and Hickory Landing HOA. His love of family and music was unmatched, he enjoyed debating politics and was always ready to lend a helping hand.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made in his name to the Lake Anna Rescue Inc. (LARI) or the Lake Anna Civic Association.
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