Ahh, how I love to only have good things to write about. It does present me with the conundrum, however, of which one to begin with, as they're both important. Let's go with the rarer of the two...
... which leads me to ask for your congratulations to Kerry Kandel, who's undergone the training to be certified by Local 9400 as a steward. Over the past few years, she's been an integral part of this union, both as part of the rank-and-file, on the Contract Committee and, most importantly, bargaining our current contract. We would not be where we are today without both the tireless support of her and her husband Jason. As she joins me as a steward, we all owe her our appreciation and support.
And while we're in a congratulating mood, please join me in saying thanks and welcome to our newest member, Jill Painter of the sports department. As a five-year Daily Newser, she's lent a byline to just about every sport in town. Amateur or pro, on gridiron, hardwood or diamond, she's covered it all-- and to top it off, she's a heck of a nice gal, too. In short, just the sort of member we need. Welcome to the club, Jill, we're glad to have you along.
So while we can take heart in both a new steward and a new member as signs of a strengthening union, we've gotta also see both as a call to do more. While I'm thrilled to have Kerry's help, that still leaves two of us for 104 employees to represent-- we're going to need to bring in more people, more departments and more viewpoints in coming months. As we figure out how to expand this to have more leadership and more involvement, we'll be coming to you guys for help.
The same goes for growing the membership. Though we've gotten much better in the last year or so, we're still short on members who aren't reporters or photographers. We need more copy editors, more layout folks, more support staff. This union belongs to everyone in that newsroom and each bureau-- we've got to keep pushing so we represent them accurately.
But even as I write that, I can feel a lot better because I know we'll actually be able to do it. As Kerry can attest, when she joined, we could have membership meetings at a single lunch table and just hoped for the best as we reached out to the newsroom. Today, we've got the support of a huge swath of the room and will endeavor to reach even more. With your help, we'll get there.
So with that in mind, let's have the first of a few meetings on Wednesday, March 15 after work. That'll just be a happy hour, where we can kick back and talk about the fun side of this noble profession of ours. We'll follow that up with a Sunday afternoon get-together on March 26 (which my calendar tells me is Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom, if any of you need to plan accordingly)for those of you who can't make a night-time rendez-vous. After that, we'll shift back into organizing mode.
The labor movement has its challenges these days, both nationally and locally, but in front of that backdrop, we're moving forward and getting better. Keep up the fine work, my friends, and thank you for all that you do.
Thanks for your help,