On May 27, ten eager Bay News Rising journalism students met with the Pacific Media Workers Guild in its San Francisco offices to negotiate the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
The 9-week long Bay News Rising summer program gives the students who come from schools all over the Bay Area the opportunity to experience freelance writing as a team effort. Together, the students negotiated terms like publishing fees, workspace and each student’s stipend.
“I asked SFSU college professor Venise Wagner what she told students who were graduating with a journalism degree, and she said, ‘prepare for self employment.’ I was shocked,” said Kat Anderson, administrative officer for the Guild, “That’s not what they told me when I went to college, and that’s why we at the Guild started doing this.”
The students elected Mary Strope as their chief spokesperson. Initially the students proposed a class attendance pay with a $200 publishing fee for each story.
The Guild rejected that proposal.
“We want you to be paid for doing work,” said Carl Hall, executive officer of the Guild, “not just showing up.”
After a request for information, which allowed the students to receive the Guild’s total budget for the program, they were able to divide the figures up as a unit. They decided that they would want stipends to be given to students fairly and not by a class attendance fee. They also decided that they would want at least $100 for publishing fees as well as access to the Guild’s building for workspace during the week.
The Guild came back with a final offer of an immediate $100 signing bonus for each student, a $100 publishing fee for each story and an addition of $2,000 at the end of the program for extra work done by the students, putting the Guild 11 percent over its original budget. The Guild also gave students access to the building for workspace as long as the students called ahead of time to reserve the room.
The students couldn’t refuse. They did ask for a mutual re-opener effective June 17.
Strope and Hall shook hands and signed the contract, which finalized the deal between management and the students’ brand new unit.
Representing management: Carl T. Hall, Kat Anderson, Rebecca Rosen Lum, Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez and Sara Bloomberg.
Representing the student unit: Mary Strope, Calla Camero, Frank Ladra, Cody Wright, William Carruthers, Danielle Parenteau, Kevin Skahan, Chloe Johnson, Marlene Sanchez and Airha Dominguez.