The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia

Recap of general membership on 7-14 2020

For those who were unable to “attend” yesterday’s Guild General Membership meetings, there was some particularly important information we wanted to make sure you had:

 SUPPLIES OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

 People and Culture has developed a new system for obtaining PPE, including masks, sanitizer and gloves. Fill out this form when you need a new supply and it will be mailed to you or hand-delivered. P&C has not put a limit on this, so please ask for more PPE when you are starting to run out. If the packet you receive does not have what you need in it, please let us know and we will work to get you what you need.

We know the PPE provided initially was inadequate in terms of both quality and quantity. We were assured that P&C has 2,000 true N95 masks on order.

 We also expressed to P&C and upper management that they must provide additional guidance on how to use the masks, whether they need to be rationed, how many times they can be used, and how to decontaminate them if they must be used more than once. Ideally, this process will be greatly streamlined. The Company acknowledged deficiencies in the process and is working to remedy them.

PROTECTIVE GEAR FOR COVERING  PROTESTS AND OTHER POTENTIALLY VOLATILE EVENTS 

 We know many of you were not adequately protected with gas masks, helmets, ballistic goggles or protective vests even as our journalists were repeatedly in dangerous situations. We were told helmets came in this week, as did ballistic goggles. They are being organized now. The company has also ordered new gas masks, cartridges for gas masks and ear plugs, and is exploring purchasing protective vests and cross-body bags.

 Ideally, a handful of photojournalists and reporters who are most often in these situations will receive their own supply of protective gear to keep at home in addition to a stockpile at the office that can be signed out by others. 

 If you are asked to go on an assignment that you think could turn volatile, please speak up and ask the editor what protective gear you will be provided. 

PRESS BADGES

 We expressed to P&C that the current badges are inadequate because they do not clearly say “PRESS.” Upper management agreed and P&C is working to design new badges for journalists that clearly state we are working press. We do not have a timeline on this yet but will continue to press on it.

COVID-19 TESTING:

 If you cover a protest or are in a crowd, the City of Philadelphia recommends you be tested for COVID-19 one week later. 

 P&C sent out these resources earlier this month: 

You can find a free testing site at the below link(a) or at select Rite Aids(b), At the Fillmore Philadelphia (c) and Vybe Urgent Cares (d)

a. https://www.phila.gov/covid-testing-sites  

b. https://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/services/covid-19-testing 

c. https://www.phillyfightingcovid.com/testing 

d. https://www.vybe.care/vybe-services/covid-19-testing/ 

 If you incur any charges for the testing and were covering a protest for work purposes, you should reach out to Holly Glidden regarding reimbursement.

 Many of us have gone through the Rite Aid testing multiple times. You can sign up here. It does not require you have any symptoms or that you came into contact with a positive person. There are no fees or insurance required.

DIVERSITY COMMITTEE

 Under the new contract, a joint Company/Guild Diversity Committee must be formed within 30 days of contract ratification. We blew that deadline because a little thing called COVID-19 upended our world. 

But it’s time. The Guild gets 4 seats on the committee, as does the Company. There is likely some flexibility there to maybe 6. 

By 10 a.m. Friday, please send an email to dmastrull@inquirer.com and bross@local-10.com if you have an interest in serving on that committee.

This is completely separate from the work study groups being formed in the newsroom. We need reps from all Guild departments: circulation, advertising, finance and the newsroom.

Thank you and stay healthy!