WE ARE the Minnesota Newspaper Guild
Typographical Union TNG-CWA,
and we negotiate the contracts that govern the wages, hours and working conditions of over 1,100 employees at sixteen units including the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, Catholic Spirit, Union Advocate, the Duluth Labor World and Minneapolis Labor Review.
Each unit of the union bargains its own contract. We also represent any employee in any grievance that either violates the contract or brings about any undue hardship on the employee.
We have been performing this assignment for more than 75 years. The Twin Cities Local was the second to receive a Guild charter and was organized in 1933 with the assistance of Heywood Broun, the man credited with creating The Newspaper Guild. Today the Twin Cities chapter carries the designation "Local 2" as an indicator of its early organization.
According to one account, the Twin Cities Local was born a few months after the publisher of the Minneapolis Tribune told his white collar employees one day in 1933 that he was cutting their pay by 10 per cent.
The publisher, Frederick E. Murphy, explained that he was forced to reduce advertising rates because of economic conditions, but the only salaries he could cut were those of non-union employees. The wages of printers, pressmen, engravers and stereotypers were protected by contracts, he said.
Although The Newspaper Guild began as an editorial-only union, Broun soon took the lead in seeking to open the Guild to other newspaper employees. Commercial employees now are estimated to make up approximately half the Guild's membership.
In the Twin Cities, the Local represents advertising salespeople, circulation department employees, clerks, janitors and messengers, as well as reporters, editors, artists and photographers. There have been some changes in the past few years. First of all, The Newspaper Guild merged with the Communications Workers of America in September of 1995 and became a sector of this large union of over 600,000 members. Also, on January 1, 2000, the Local merged with the Minneapolis-St. Paul Typographical Union, Local 30 which represents over 150 typographers in several shops throughout the Twin Cities.
The union exists for one reason: Power. We've achieved it through the work and dedication of Twin Cities Guild members over the past six decades. With the addition of the Typo Union 30, the first craft union organized in the state (in 1850), we have increased that power.
Our contracts are the result of their work and the work of hundreds of others in the years that followed. They are some of the best contracts in the industry.
Today, you can continue to make your newspaper or shop a better place to work through your involvement in the union. We have a voice in the decisions that affect our work lives and the right to negotiate solutions to problems we encounter. Our committees deal with nearly every aspect of our work, from safety to human rights.
Like any democracy, the union derives its strength from active involvement. The rights we possess as union members also carry responsibilities. We want to keep this union strong.
We can remain strong only as long as members take the time to get involved. This is your union. Its decisions are made by you and your co-workers.
We encourage you to participate. All around you, your co-workers are involved in a variety of roles -- as stewards, committee members, unit officers, local officers. Ask how you can help.
It's easy to get involved. We look forward to working with you.