Bay News Rising student union reaches agreement with the Guild

Union negotiator and student Amanda Rhoades negotiates for Bay News Rising student publication fees. | Joe Fitzgerald / Bay News Rising
Union rep and student Amanda Rhoades negotiates for Bay News Rising student publication fees. | Joe Fitzgerald / Bay News Rising 2013


By Dalton Amador
Bay News Rising

The Bay News Rising Student Union and the Pacific Media Workers Guild reached a collective bargaining agreement Tuesday after an hour of negotiations, setting freelance fees for the reporters’ upcoming work.

Eight students from City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University and University of San Francisco’s journalism departments make up the Guild’s summer-long Bay News Rising program, which means to foster the skills necessary for freelance writing — like asking for fair wages.

“Most programs like this don’t pay anything,” said Carl Hall, executive officer of the Guild. “We’re trying to be open and progressive.”

Students formed a union as part of the program and negotiated their payment from a grant provided by the Berger-Marks Foundation.

The agreement stipulates that each student will be paid a stipend of $576 for attending classes, of which there are 17, and $200 for writing two published stories.

Initially the Guild offered a $500 stipend and $200 story fee per student.

The union countered with a $636 stipend, based on San Francisco minimum wage as applied to class time, as well as food and travel expenses.

The Guild then proposed a $320 stipend, travel expenses on a case-by-case basis and $160 for utilizing unique skills in stories, like speaking Farsi or coding in HTML. The $160 payment would be limited to two instances, though two more may be considered.

That offer did not go over well with the students, who rejected it.

“We will not be divided,” said Amanda Rhoades, spokesperson for the union. “We are in this together.”

The union then proposed their final agreement. The Guild caucused and then agreed to the offer, with one change: They didn’t specify expenses, opting instead to roll them all into the stipend as a whole.

Both sides agreed to handle absences on a case-by-case basis.
Representing management: Carl T. Hall, Kat Anderson, Niesha Gates

Representing the student union: Amanda Rhoades, Coburn Palmer, Dalton Amador, Ida Mojadad, Henry Perez, Shayna Rubin, Vanessa Serpas, McKenna Toston



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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer