Remembering Our 60th Anniversary — IAPE At 80
Looking Back At The Events That Shaped Our Union
As we celebrate the 80th anniversary of IAPE, we'll take an occasional look back at key moments in our Union's history. Today, we turn the clock back 20 years and recall our 60th anniversary celebration; you may be surprised to see who the Union tabbed to be its guest speaker during the semiannual Board of Directors' meeting.
From the IAPE Newsletter, June 1997
IAPE marks its 60th anniversary
CWA affiliation, pressroom reps among the many recent changes
IN MANY RESPECTS, IAPE's semi-annual board meeting May 2-3 was like any other: minutes were read, officers' reports given, motions affecting future union activities made and discussed. But this also was IAPE's 60th anniversary, which merited at least a note of celebration. And as the weekend unfolded, it also became clear the IAPE of 1997 is vastly different from the IAPE of 1937, formed by a Dow Jones management shrewdly intent on keeping the AFL and the CIO at bay.
Setting the tone was a dinner Friday night featuring guest speaker Michael Moore, a celebratory cake and plaques of appreciation for president Ron Chen, vice president Ken Martin? and secretary/treasurer Laura Bitter.
"We've allowed the other side to do such a good job of propaganda, of portraying unions as the bad guys," Moore lamented. But unions are necessary to restrain the greed that increasingly characterizes corporate America, he added—greed camouflaged as profit. " 'Profit' is not our system—democracy is," he insisted. "If it's just about profit, if that's all it's about, why don't we just let General Motors sell crack? Why don't we just let Dow Jones sell child pornography?"
Moore's comments followed the presentation of plaques, a first in recent IAPE memory, thanking Chen, Martin and Bitter for their devoted service to the union. The awards, an obviously surprised Martin said, were an IAPE first for a different reason—they were "the first time IAPE kept a secret"
Also on the program Friday night was the presentation by News Guild president Linda Foley of IAPE's charter from the CWA, officially designating the union as Local 1096. The affiliation ends six decades of IAPE's isolation from the ranks of organized labor, as reflected in the agenda Saturday, when IAPE's board chewed on several related items. Among them:
* The board voted to send four delegates to this year's CWA convention, including president Ron Chen in an ex officio capacity, plus location reps Sandra Henry (Dallas), Nancy Keating (New York) and Al Venus (South Brunswick).
* Looking beyond this year's CWA convention, the board amended the rules for the fall election to enable IAPE's members to vote directly for CWA delegates (see page 6). Under the new rules, IAPE's president, vice president and secretary/treasurer will be ex officio delegates; in addition, three other delegates will be elected at large. Any IAPE member in good standing, whether or not a board member, may be a candidate for one of these three delegate slots.
* Because IAPE's by-laws were drafted for a stand-alone union, the board also authorized an ad hoc committee to prepare a comprehensive set of amendments to make them more consistent with CWA and other union by-laws; any action by the full board at its December meeting will have to be ratified by the full membership before it can take effect. Chicago location director Bernadette Pratl is chairing the committee and has invited all interested IAPE members to submit suggestions.
[i2]Listening intently to the day's discussions were several of IAPE's newest reps—printers and mailers from Englewood, Colorado and Bowling Green, Ohio. The successful organizing drives at those locations resulted in board decisions to create two new director positions:
* By splitting off Denver from Dallas and combining it with the newly organized printing plant in Englewood, the board gains one new location of approximately 30 members. Bowling Green, meanwhile, has been combined with the Detroit location.
* The board also voted to create a sixth classification directorship, for the printing trades sector. Because IAPE's newest members won't be paying dues until they negotiate a contract with Dow Jones—and because only dues-paying members can vote in IAPE elections—it's uncertain whether a printing trades director will be on the November ballot.
In other business May 3, the board rejected 22-1 a motion to create an ad hoc committee to study the desirability of participating in the CWA's strike fund, and shot down a trial balloon about the desirability of creating a new board seat for retirees. The board also was informed of a new labor? management committee that is attempting to resolve problems with the company before they reach the grievance stage. IAPE committee members include Dana Eckhardt, David Parsons, Diana Rosenberg and Al Venus, all of South Brunswick.
Finally, no description of the changes seen at the May meeting would be complete without mentioning that Jerry Grant of Boston is IAPE's new advertising classification director, replacing Elliott Newman, who has retired. Or that IAPE has finished moving to its new office, which includes not one but five phone lines. The address is 14 Washington Road, Suite 521, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550.
On a more sorrowful note, the meeting—and IAPE in general—suffered the loss of Celia Cordoba, who died shortly and unexpectedly before the meeting. An IAPE steward in New York, a member of the Barron's sales staff and a single mother who had raised two daughters, she was an outspoken voice for workplace justice and will be missed greatly.