kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Waiting For the Plumber or Someone Like Him. Oh, and Advanced Policy-Wonking

I'm actually waiting for an actual plumber, who's set to come between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to evaluated our leaking garbage disposal unit and determine whether it can be reset in place to eliminate the leak, which would be the case if it had somehow been jarred loose enough to create an opening at the top for water, or whether there's an actual un-repairable physical crack or hole near the top. The guy said he'd bring a new disposal unit "just in case," so BB and I are set to question him sharply in an effort not to be talked into a new unit that we don't need. Wish us luck. 

I have actually tackled something that I've been avoiding for some three weeks; writing up a draft report on recommendations for possible changes to the Chicago News Guild bylaws. We got a start on that, as I said, three weeks ago, when I and another Guild member appointed to the task got together an did a rather rudimentary review of our existing bylaws.

We parted with the understanding that we'd send each other draft language on the changes we agreed should be presented to our executive board, and go from there to choose language we could both live with. He hasn't gotten back to me, which isn't surprising, since he is our local's organizer, and is busy with contract negotiations for one of our newest local units. My silence, on the other hand, stemmed, I think, from my unconscious understanding that I would discover even more things that could or possibly should be changed, rearranged, or eliminated from our bylaws. 

I was right. I spent the afternoon yesterday going over our bylaws, and delving into the national News Guild constitution, as well as the constitution of our ultimate parent union, the Communication Workers of America. In addition to the changes the two of us immediately looked at, there were places where we made reference to national or CWA clauses that no longer exist or that have been moved. Additionally, one of the core changes we agreed should be made required more changes and rearranging, in my opinion. than we'd initially thought. 

Without getting too much into the policy wonk weeds, we have two sources of basic change hat our bylaws must address First, our local (which covers units in Chicago, the rest of Illinois and portions of other nearby states) is no longer solely a union for journalists, since we cover units of government court interpreters, units of union organizers for the Teamsters, for a teachers' union and for the SEIU (unions, sadly, can be terrible employers), and a couple of other non-journalistic units. While most of our bylaws are inclusive enough to handle the change, some things need to be rewritten.

Second - and this is more of a core structural thing, and therefore more important - we now have two units that I've dubbed non-contractual; one is for general press (unemployed and retired former members, and former members who now work outside our union's purview, but who all want to remain members), and the newest unit, for working journalists, specifically covers writers, photographers, graphic artists and others who are freelance. Neither unit operates under a contract, and this fundamental difference needs to be addressed in ways that are fundamentally different from the way contractual units are run. Our general press unit has existed for decades. and after reading the national Guild constitution, I believe we've operated in a way that's a little outside the way our constitution would technically allow, although it does address retired members tangentially. (But hey, we're Chicago and we do what we want, she said truculently). The idea of a working journalists' group doesn't appear to be addressed at all, so - 

Oh dear. Got into the weeds, my best intentions notwithstanding. Welp ....

Anyhow, I need to get the five pages of notes I made yesterday, and the earlier barely-sketched-out ideas the two of us had, and put them into a readable file sometime this afternoon. Then I'm going to turn my attention to a novel one of my former reporter colleagues asked me to look at, and which I haven't touched for about a month and a half. He told me to take my time, but that's a little much. 

I hope this energy continues. 

Date: Tuesday, 12 February 2019 09:30 pm (UTC)
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
From: [personal profile] bibliofile
You are doing important work, there! Carry on, please.

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