I have worked at the Post-Dispatch since 1986 and been involved with the St. Louis Newspaper Guild for the bulk of my time here. Blame Tim O'Neil for that. Once he found out my dad was a UAW executive, I pretty much had to join the club. I've stuck around to make sure we had the next generation of Guild leaders ready to take over -- and it appears we have that. This is critical to all of our local units.
The collapse of the newspaper industry has made the Guild more important than ever before. Not only are we fighting to preserve as many jobs as possible amid the economic carnage, we are battling to protect the craft of journalism itself. The old-timers are glad to see our younger members embrace this cause. We have many passionate activists ready to carry on the fight. Soon, I'll be able to head into the sunset and eat my pudding.
I've been working as staff photographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 2000. Previously I worked at the Naples Daily News and the Providence Journal Bulletin. I was selected as Shop Steward of the Year in 2008 and have served on the executive board of the guild as First Vice President since 2009.
I believe the Newspaper Guild has an important role to play in the shaping the future of newspapers and defending jobs in the industry. Cities around the country deserve professional, dedicated and trained journalist and sales people to inform and serve the public. The contracts the Guild negotiates protect employees and the community from companies who at times seem more beholden to shareholders and maximizing profits than to vital mission newspapers serve as watchdogs.
Jim Gallagher, 55, is gray and paunchy, but he his proud to say he is not yet balding. He graduated from the University of Missouri at Columbia, then began a 34 year career in the newspaper business in which he managed never, ever to be promoted into management. His friends were not surprised. The first 14 of those years were spent hiding from city editors, and the last 15 hiding from business editors, with great success. The highlight of his career came in 1975 when he managed to royally tick off Ms. New Jersey, dressed in a swimsuit, while covering the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.
It was all down hill from there. He joined the Post-Dispatch in 1989 as a business writer covering finance and economics. For eight years he wrote a column on personal finance for which e was paid the princely sum of $50 a week. He didn’t dare ask for a raise. After one hard afternoon trying to translate "Fed-speak" into English, he suffered a mental break and wandered about ranting, “Raise taxes!” and “I love Teddy Kennedy!” The business editor could see that he would be of no further use, so Gallagher was shipped off to the editorial page in 2002, where he can rant all he wants and nobody pays any attention. Sometime in the mid-90s he became a Guild shop steward. He joined the e-board in 2005 and became treasurer in 2006.
I have been an employee of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 1996. Active participation in the Newspaper Guild is not only important to me in the workplace, it is also something I enjoy and an important part of my life. I currently serve as recording secretary and delegate to Jobs with Justice and the St. Louis Labor Council, serve on Mobilization Committee, I am a shop steward and assisted in the development of our New Member Packets. I am proud of the fact that our local is active in organizing and mobilization and look forward to working with my union brothers and sisters in all future endeavors.
I'm the unit chairperson at the Post-Dispatch. In the 32 years I've been a dues-paying member of the Guild, I've also been a shop steward, recording-secretary, served as a member of our joint standing committee and a member of our most recent negotiations committee.
As a result of these various positions, you may have talked to me when I was handing out flyers in front of the building, distributing our newsletter (The No. 47), representing members called into hearings, attending steward's meetings, charity fundraisers on behalf of the Guild, attending Jobs with Justice Leadership Training, officers training or anything else I've been asked and honored to do for this union.
While not born into a union family, over the years I've learned the value of the democracy that this union affords all of us and the security in attaining fair wages, safe and respectful working conditions and the opportunity to contribute to a better life for us all.
Unions are the only institutions left today looking out for workers and the middle class. Keeping our union strong is vital to the health of our newspaper and our country. I grew up in a union household, but have worked for a union newspaper only since joining the Post-Dispatch in 1998. I became active in 2004. in the '70s, i was a leader in a drive to organize the Lawrence, Mass. Eagle-Tribune; we lost the election but won dramatic improvements in pay and benefits, including maternity benefits.
The Guild is important to be because it gives workers a voice in their workplace and strives for justice for all. I am a 1979 grad of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. I’ve been on the Guild board for about 20 years and am a former Guilder of the Year.
I live in Oakville with my wife, Terry, and we attend St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. We have two children. Andy is a senior manager of accounting for ADM in Decatur, IL, and Colleen is an environmental engineer with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Kansas City, MO. I grew up in a family with six children and both parents who were union members. I am scholarship chairperson for the Journalism Foundation of Metropolitan St. Louis, a group that includes the Newspaper Guild.
I've been a member of the St. Louis Newspaper Guild since shortly after being hired in 1972. I've served on the E-Board and have been a shop steward over the years. I'm proud of the many union men and women who, through their sacrifices, have made the Post-Dispatch a better place to work and who continue to make it as good a product as they possibly can in spite of the many imperceptive obstacles they encounter each day.