Nine members who volunteered to be trained as Contract Advisors and Grievance Officers in the NWU Grievance and Contract Committee participated in a three-day training in the New York office over the May 17-19 weekend. The training, conducted by National Grievance and Contract Officer Susan Davis, GCC Coordinator Barbara Mende and Assistant NGCO Paul MacArthur, was joined by Larry Goldbetter and Mauricio Niebla in the 12th floor conference room. Five of the trainees were in the room, with the others participating, from as far away as Chicago and Baltimore, via web conferencing.
Despite some early technical difficulties, training hummed right along beginning with the union’s formidable Guide to Book Contracts, conveyed through slides and commentary from the presenters who took turns. There was plenty of time for questions, which increased as the trainees became familiar with the many issues addressed in different types of contracts, including journalism, academic and work for hire. At the end of the second day, they were given homework: identify all the things wrong in a really bad contract. They passed with flying colors. Most of the last day was devoted to handling different types of grievances, with emphasis on helping the member become proactive by drafting a demand letter. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, that’s when the member asks the grievance officer to step in.
The training ended with a round of enthusiastic congratulations for the new members of the GCC as well as for the trainers, with thanks to Larry for meals and hospitality. Since then the trainees have been assigned experienced GCC mentors who will help them put their new knowledge into practice over the coming months. Please address all requests for contract reviews and help with questions or problems to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan E. Davis, National Grievance and Contract Officer