Szekely, guild president, returning to Reuters
Peter Szekely, who has been the president of the New York News Guild, writes about leaving the union and returning to work for Reuters.
Szekely writes, “If there was a pivotal point in my professional life, it was at the Reuters Washington Bureau in 1989, when I was given two very different opportunities at the same time. On the one hand, Reuters offered me the Boston bureau, a fairly prestigious one-person gig in those days, and in a city I lived in and loved during and after college. On the other, the Guild offered me a six-month stint as an organizer in New York. After a few days of agonizing, I chose the latter, knowing that Reuters would probably never offer me another opportunity like that again. I never regretted it.
“My journalism career may have been more subdued than it otherwise would have been, but the positive difference I was able to make in the lives of so many members more than made up for it.
“At Reuters, hundreds of members were better off over the years because of contractual provisions, grievances and settlements that I had a hand in during my 17 years as unit chair. But what I’m most proud of is having created a nationwide network of stewards that’s still around, and is the main reason for the Guild’s enduring strength at Reuters.
“When I moved to New York to become secretary-treasurer in 2007, I worked with former President Bill O’Meara to save the Guild’s independent health care plan at The New York Times, which was on life support and in management’s cross-hairs at the time. Several hundred members are benefiting from our work today. But our enduring innovation was working with an actuary to develop the adjustable pension plan, which saved defined benefit pensions at The Times and Consumer Reports.
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