Rob Johnson For President
I am Rob Johnson, the Treasurer of the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees and its Grievance Committee chairman. I am running to be our union's next President.
In the 14 years that I have been a member of our union, its most consistent flaw has been a lack of strong and visible leadership from the very top. Far too often the presidents of our union have been known only by name, and members have gone months without seeing or hearing a word from them. They all became complacent.
That was clear in our last round of bargaining with Dow Jones. Efforts to mobilize ahead of the talks should have been stronger, and the company noticed the lack of a motivated membership. While the deal we on the Bargaining committee ultimately agreed to is markedly better than what much of the industry has been seeing in recent years, the company said it did not have to go further to get a deal ratified by our members. "We're confident the membership will accept this," the company's negotiators said repeatedly.
That cannot continue.
If I am elected, members will have a president that is visible and approachable. I will build on the progress that a number of our members took upon themselves, such as recruiting a number of stewards. There will be much more mobilization and opportunities for members to discuss their issues with IAPE's leadership.
Seeing the new faces that have stepped up for this election to be officers and directors makes me more confident our union will be much stronger going forward.
Unions bring democracy to the workplace. Members must be heard. In addition to more frequent and higher-profile meetings, I want to bring back the newsletter that IAPE used to publish up until 10 years ago. IAPE's bylaws, which allow newsletters to be electronic, say the publication "shall allow dissent and discussion of local issues." In the 1990s, the newsletter that was mailed to members' homes featured debate on such topics as bylaw changes and whether to join the Communication Workers of America.
I am ready to hit the ground running. Since we may be facing new bargaining as soon as this spring, that is vital. There is no time for a learning period. IAPE members need to have confidence that our union's leader knows the issues they are facing — even if they are in different departments — and know that individual is looking out for all.
Because of my union activism, which also includes serving as a current member of the Labor/Management and Classification committees as well as a past Secretary and a member of four Bargaining committees, I know how a union works and have a solid understanding of the jobs IAPE members perform throughout Dow Jones. I took part in the NewsGuild's new officer training session and have taken part in most Guild sector conferences since I became an IAPE officer. I have also taken seminars held by Cornell University's IRL School and the Labor Arbitration Institute.
My activism with our union began in the summer of 2006 with initiating IAPE's drive to claim the Harborside office in Jersey City. After IAPE claimed the site, I was appointed to the Election Committee and then became Secretary.
I began my career with Dow Jones as a database writer in the former News Retrieval department in South Brunswick in May 1993. I transferred to Jersey City in December 1996 to become a News Assistant II for what has become the Real Time desk. I was promoted to National Copy Reader in the fall of 1997, and then to copy editor in the summer of 2008. I was later reclassified as an Interactive News Writer a few years after that.
I will be readily available throughout the campaign to discuss issues. I will make announcements about any offsite or online events in the future. My website is www.robjohnsoniape.com. I can be reached at robjohnsonIAPE@gmail.com and at (609) 375-8376. Follow me on Twitter at @robjohnsoniape and Facebook at www.facebook.com/robjohnsoniape. My Slack channel is at robjohnsoniape.slack.com.
I look forward to a great campaign and wish all the candidates running the best of luck.