How new members can become eligible to vote in the NewsGuild election

We all deserve the opportunity to have a say in who our union’s leader will be for the next four years. In January, Bernie Lunzer, the 11-year incumbent of the NewsGuild HQ in D.C., prevented 2,000 new members from voting by failing to provide information about the process. These new members have reinvigorated our union with energy and enthusiasm, and this election is an opportunity for all of us to build on that momentum.  

After the election, I reported on new members who were prevented from voting (including myself), the box of 1,000 returned blank ballots that never made it to members due to bad addresses, and a dozen other problems. We won a rerun and new members now have the chance to vote. 

In response to a series of emails in which I asked clarifying questions, headquarters posted details about how new members can vote. Here’s how:

  • Make sure you’ve signed a union authorization or membership card

  • Pay dues at the rate established by your local (for the Omaha World-Herald and L.A. Times it’s 1.3846% of monthly gross pay with a maximum of $155.85 a month)

  • Pay an initiation fee (not all have them, it’s $1 for at-large members)

  • Provide a copy of a recent pay stub

  • Pay dues by Sept. 16 of this year

Mail ballots will be sent out on Oct. 25 and must be received by Dec. 10 to be counted. In-plant balloting will occur in some locals Nov. 12-17.

This would be a voluntary dues payment, which are rarely made by new members who have yet to ratify a first contract, but it is necessary to participate in this election. The executive council and election committee have said members would need to keep up with their voluntary payments beyond more than just one month’s worth of dues. Current Guild leaders suggested that members who stop paying these voluntary dues after the election could be expelled and their votes not counted. Again, this is all voluntary and only applies to those new members who would like to pay dues in order to be an eligible voter for this international election. 

To simplify this process, I made a calculator here for you to see how much you’d pay monthly and who to contact. If you don’t see your local listed or want to correct anything, contact me and I’ll add your local’s information to the calculator.

Your monthly dues are based on a percentage of your gross monthly pay as determined by your local. Enter your gross biweekly pay (the total sum of your two-week pay period before taxes) to calculate your monthly dues.

Jon Schleuss