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Dept. of Work That Must be Done

Waiting For the Plumber or Someone Like Him. Oh, and Advanced Policy-Wonking

I'm actually waiting for an actual plumber, who's set to come between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to evaluated our leaking garbage disposal unit and determine whether it can be reset in place to eliminate the leak, which would be the case if it had somehow been jarred loose enough to create an opening at the top for water, or whether there's an actual un-repairable physical crack or hole near the top. The guy said he'd bring a new disposal unit "just in case," so BB and I are set to question him sharply in an effort not to be talked into a new unit that we don't need. Wish us luck. 

I have actually tackled something that I've been avoiding for some three weeks; writing up a draft report on recommendations for possible changes to the Chicago News Guild bylaws. We got a start on that, as I said, three weeks ago, when I and another Guild member appointed to the task got together an did a rather rudimentary review of our existing bylaws.

We parted with the understanding that we'd send each other draft language on the changes we agreed should be presented to our executive board, and go from there to choose language we could both live with. He hasn't gotten back to me, which isn't surprising, since he is our local's organizer, and is busy with contract negotiations for one of our newest local units. My silence, on the other hand, stemmed, I think, from my unconscious understanding that I would discover even more things that could or possibly should be changed, rearranged, or eliminated from our bylaws. 

I was right. I spent the afternoon yesterday going over our bylaws, and delving into the national News Guild constitution, as well as the constitution of our ultimate parent union, the Communication Workers of America. In addition to the changes the two of us immediately looked at, there were places where we made reference to national or CWA clauses that no longer exist or that have been moved. Additionally, one of the core changes we agreed should be made required more changes and rearranging, in my opinion. than we'd initially thought. 

Without getting too much into the policy wonk weeds, we have two sources of basic change hat our bylaws must address First, our local (which covers units in Chicago, the rest of Illinois and portions of other nearby states) is no longer solely a union for journalists, since we cover units of government court interpreters, units of union organizers for the Teamsters, for a teachers' union and for the SEIU (unions, sadly, can be terrible employers), and a couple of other non-journalistic units. While most of our bylaws are inclusive enough to handle the change, some things need to be rewritten.

Second - and this is more of a core structural thing, and therefore more important - we now have two units that I've dubbed non-contractual; one is for general press (unemployed and retired former members, and former members who now work outside our union's purview, but who all want to remain members), and the newest unit, for working journalists, specifically covers writers, photographers, graphic artists and others who are freelance. Neither unit operates under a contract, and this fundamental difference needs to be addressed in ways that are fundamentally different from the way contractual units are run. Our general press unit has existed for decades. and after reading the national Guild constitution, I believe we've operated in a way that's a little outside the way our constitution would technically allow, although it does address retired members tangentially. (But hey, we're Chicago and we do what we want, she said truculently). The idea of a working journalists' group doesn't appear to be addressed at all, so - 

Oh dear. Got into the weeds, my best intentions notwithstanding. Welp ....

Anyhow, I need to get the five pages of notes I made yesterday, and the earlier barely-sketched-out ideas the two of us had, and put them into a readable file sometime this afternoon. Then I'm going to turn my attention to a novel one of my former reporter colleagues asked me to look at, and which I haven't touched for about a month and a half. He told me to take my time, but that's a little much. 

I hope this energy continues. 
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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2019 06:27 pm (UTC)
I ain't a plumber nor do I play one on tv, so I should just keep my mouth closed -- but is it leaking from around the top, the dishwasher inlet, or the bottom?
Feb. 12th, 2019 06:40 pm (UTC)
You may not be a plumber or playing one on TV, but you've got your wits about you. The leak is from around the top, where the unit meets the sink. That's why Bob thinks it's a case of it having been dislodged by some jolt or another. Given the size of our current kitchen, that may be the case. I'm hoping so, anyhow.
Feb. 12th, 2019 06:48 pm (UTC)
There's a gasket or two
Between the unit and the sink that's a cheap do-it-yourself fix. With a plumber, probably not so cheap. If the garbage disposal is, err, elderly, it probably won't make that big of a difference in the bill. The one time I tried to switch my old garbage disposal over to the new sink, taking it down clearly showed it was a really dumb idea. That said, with a flashlight have them show you what the issue is so you can decide.
Feb. 12th, 2019 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: There's a gasket or two
I'm pretty sure that's what Bob's thinking, too. When we got this garbage disposal put in, we bought the disposal unit, and the guy who put it in only charged us for the labor. I don't think we'll get away as easily this time, unless he doesn't have to replace the unit. (Neither BB nor I, in our old age - and me at any time in my life - are handy.)
Feb. 12th, 2019 08:56 pm (UTC)
Whoa, that report sounds like some work :O Good luck! I hope the repairs go well too.
Feb. 12th, 2019 09:07 pm (UTC)
I think the biggest load of work, at least for this phase of our rewrite, got done yesterday. It was just getting up the gumption to start. And now I can put it into some sort of readable format, instead of my horrible handwriting and messy note-taking.

Thanks for the good wishes on the repairs. The plumber just called and said hed be here shortly.
Feb. 12th, 2019 09:08 pm (UTC)
Good then, good luck with the rest!

*fingers crossed*
Feb. 14th, 2019 04:39 pm (UTC)
Arrrghhh. With plumbing it is one of those sticky things where you have to trust the guy installing the part. Och.

Sounds like you are doing good work, into the weeds or no. There are a lot of older laws, bylaws and guidelines for all workers that are outdated, stifling or plan ridiculous and need oversight. Glad you are there to help your fellow journalists (whether you currently are one yourself or not).

Feb. 15th, 2019 12:27 am (UTC)
The plumbing situation turned out to be far less expensive than we feared - it was indeed just a tightening of gaskets or somesuch, not a replacement situation.

Trying to finish the union stuff has slowed down, but I'm still working on it.

*hugs back*
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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