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September 29, 2023
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By liimm
Candidate LaSpina answers concerns
Updated On: May 151, 2023

Pursuant to a Voluntary Compliance Agreement signed on March 27, 2023, the GCC-IBT Local 406C will conduct a new election and installation for the office of President under the Secretary of Labor’s supervision in July 2023. The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for assuring the election is conducted in accordance with Title IV of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). Under the OLMS General Rules of the supervised rerun election for Local 406 president, incumbent President Mike LaSpina and challenger Mr. Ted Phillips can email members through the Local 406 website.


Local 406 members, 

I would like to address some concerns that have been raised in recent mailings regarding my leadership of the Local.

Give members a window into opaque union spending and a vote on how their money is spent.

We already do this. Every month during the general meeting at both the 9 am and at 5:30 pm we read the financial report for this local. After it is read I ask does anyone have questions on the report. Questions are answered in great detail by me or any other executive board member with knowledge of the matter. Aside from that I have mentioned that anyone can make an appointment to come in and review the finance reports. I’ve agreed going forward we will have an annual budget. The process is already transparent.

Encourage members to train in labor relations and contract negotiations.

Under my leadership I have arranged for stewards, officers, and at least one rank-and-file member who has inquired, to take core courses on labor with the Long Island Federation of Labor. I sit on the executive board. The organization is the premier voice of labor on Long Island. These classes are free of charge. This remains an option for any member who is interested. 

Merge with New York City media unions.

I believe the reference is to the Guild, which has not had a contract going on three years, which is concerning. But besides the lack of an agreement with its parent company, there are two other reasons that come to mind that why it wouldn’t work. 

  1. You can’t in a closed C.B.A. 
  2. The AFL-CIO constitution would not allow it, unless our International agree to it and that is not going to happen.

We have long consulted with the New York Guild on questions of our shared future as workers of media companies. I personally have spoken on many occasions with Guild officers and presidents over the years at meetings and in private conversations. We have strong relationships already with the press and transportation unions that publish and deliver Newsday and the other NY-area papers. 

GCC was kicked out by the Teamsters.

The suggestion that there are some suspicious “reasons” for the separation is silly and suggests the writer is either intentionally obscuring the facts or is sadly misinformed. The Teamsters on their own decided to no longer honor the merger agreement between the GCC and IBT. That is the opposite of kicking us out because they wanted to make us straight-line Teamsters. The new President of the Teamsters, Sean O’Brien, notified our international, the GCC, with a letter that as of 12/31/2022 the Teamsters would no longer honor the merger agreement that was made in 2002 when we affiliated with them. That change was rejected by GCC leaders because: 

  1.  GCC locals would lose autonomy and identity
  2.  We would be placed into a Teamster local
  3.  We would no longer have control of our own finances.

The truth is the General Board of the GCC ELECTED TO PART WAYS! 

I have spoken about this several times at our meetings. 

Concern that Journalism is not in the new title of the International.

When we joined Local 406 in 1974 the word Journalism was not in the title and has never been in any of the title changes we have gone through: 

  1. G.C.I.U. (Graphic Communication International Conference)
  2. G.C.C. (Graphic Communication Conference)

But what is more troubling is the concern that the word journalism is not in the new title, but there was no concern about the other job classifications that make up ALL editorial departments and the two other units that make up Local 406: 

  1. E.P.R (Electronic Pre Press)
  2. Building Maintenance

On a sidenote, the Newspaper Guild, which has been suggested as a better alternative union shop, has not had a contract in almost three years despite having newspaper in its title. Local 406 has never been without a contract. Not everything is in a name.

Top Down leadership with old–boy alliances.

Our Executive Board is made up of seven people: four are out of editorial with three being journalists, one from building maintenance, one from EPR, and I worked for 45 years for the company 26 years working in leadership with the union. We have two people of color, three women, not to mention our comptroller is a woman.  This is not an “old-boy alliance.” 

Five out of the seven have many years of experience and should be upset at the suggestion that there has been a misuse of funds and that they are not able to lead this union into its future or that they are not concerned with rank-and-file members. I’m proud of our board and its representation. Everyone is encouraged to come to meetings and get involved. The executive board and I are always open to suggestions and input from the body.   Whether we like it or not alliances out of the Local are important.

There is time until the next contract to get up to speed on contract negotiations.  

The best use of time now would be to get up to speed on how to support and learn union leadership to be a part of the next generation of union leaders at Newsday. 

I hope I have been able to clarify issues that I think are being cast as poor leadership but are really a personal agenda and not concerns of the entire membership especially since most, if not all, of the platform suggestions are either already in place or will be shortly. 

I encourage everyone to get involved. But I cannot force people to take labor classes, attend meetings or give their time otherwise to the Local. I understand people are busy. That’s why you can rely on me. I’m dedicated to Local 406 as I have the time, desire, historical knowledge, and experience. This is no time to take a chance on a team with zero union leadership experience. That experience advocating for members, enforcing the contract, and forging fair contracts is what the current leadership provides. That is the best way to collectively create our best future.

Mike LaSpina

President local 406 PPPWU

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