Unit Election Season Is Here!

This year, local officers and unit offices are both up for election!

That means there are ample opportunities for members to get more engaged with our local and in their shop!

Nominations for local officer positions will be held during the November membership meeting

Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

Voting for a contested local office will be held 30 to 45 days after Nov. 9.

Watch your email inbox for information from your unit leaders about the dates for unit officer elections.

Each unit must hold its meeting for nominating officers in January or February, per CNG bylaws. And— COVID safety permitting— Chicago News Guild is planning one an in-person leadership retreat (with all necessary precautions to maximize safety for all members) for new officers and stewards in February or early March.

The event will be an overnight affair at a nice hotel, with planning sessions, workshops and training for all new officers and stewards. So, please pay attention to the timelines for unit elections to make sure we’ve completed voting by February, so all new officers can attend!

Below is more information about the election process, the positions, and how to properly announce and hold your nominations and conduct voting. If you have any questions direct them to Local Secretary Tim Campbell at: secretary@chicagonewsguild.org

Here is a bunch more information on officer elections!

Local Officer Elections

The Chicago News Guild represents nearly 500 members at the leading newspapers in the Chicago area, as well as Cook County’s court interpreters, staff at some of the city’s largest labor unions, and workers at a number of progressive organizations.

Again, nominations for local officer positions will be held at the November membership meeting, being held via Zoom 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9. Voting for any contested local office will be held 30 to 45 days after Nov. 9.


  • President
  • Presides over meetings of the membership and executive board, ex-officio member of all Local committees; sets priorities for the local, appoints committee members, frequent point of contact for TNG officials.
  • First Vice President
    • Fulfills the duties of the President should the President be absent or unable to perform their duties.
  • Treasurer
    • Financial steward of the Local; monitors CNG accounts and finances, provides monthly reports to Exec Board and membership on local finances; prepares and presents annual CNG budget; member of Finance Committee; signs checks for duly approved expenses of CNG; monitors with Secretary dues revenues and per-capita payments to TNG and CWA.
  • Secretary
    • Custodian of CNG records, including member rolls; takes and maintains minutes of meetings; helps administer elections; maintains CNG website; handles correspondence for Local.

How to nominate someone for Local office:
Email Guild Secretary Tim Campbell at secretary@chicagonewsguild.org before the Nov. 9 meeting. Tim will confirm nominees are willing to accept the office prior to the election. Nominations also can be made during the meeting.

Unit Officer Elections

An empowering and orderly election process is a great opportunity to engage your members and recruit new leaders, and to re-focus on what you want your unit to be. Democracy is good!


The bylaws require all units to elect each year the following:

  • Unit Chair
  • Delegate to the Local Executive Board
  • Alternate Delegate
  • Many units also elect positions such as: vice-chair, secretary or head steward, which Bylaws allow as determined by that unit’s needs to function cohesively.


Per CNG Bylaws, unit officers are elected annually “in January or February.” Each unit must send notice of the date and time for unit officer nominations 20 days in advance of the meeting.

Again, please try to have completed elections by February, so that your officer corps can be in place in time for the CNG Retreat!

The earliest you can hold the nomination meeting is Jan. 1 (but that’s New Year’s Day, and a Sunday, and Monday, Jan. 2 is a holiday– so let’s say Jan. 3). To hold your nominations on Jan. 3, you’d have to send out a notice of the meeting by Dec. 15.

Here is sample language to use for your nomination notice


Local bylaws indicate that each unit shall elect at least three offices:

  • Delegate to the local Executive Board
    • Represents the unit at the Exec Board meetings of the local, votes on things like the local’s budget
  • Alternate delegate
    • To attend meetings should the delegate be unable
  • Unit Chair
    • Leads the membership of the unit, also holds a seat on the local Exec Board

Most units elect additional officers, such as vice-chair or secretary as well. TNG recommends a chair, vice-chair, and secretary, as well as a steward corps (elected or appointed) with one steward per 10 unit members.

For new units without first contracts, TNG has helpful suggestions for the officers and unit structures here, there is also information on how to conduct your elections. A key provision for new units: assembling a neutral election committee. For units that are already established elections are overseen by the local’s Election Committee.


  • Elections are an organizing opportunity and are a prime opportunity to update unit records and revive communication structures, update members’ contact information, and build ways to disseminate candidate information— and information about the unit once elections are done.
  • Under our bylaws, notice of a membership meeting for elections must be given at least 20 days ahead of the meeting. Here is sample language showing what you should include in that notice.
  • Elections must take place no later than February. However, it is beneficial to announce the nominations and solicit nominations well before 20 days out– candidates will want time to consider their platforms and reach out to members. Note: formal nominations for established units should take place at a full membership meeting.
  • Given the notice requirements and the possible additional time that might be required for a mail-in ballot election (more on that later), all units should notice and conduct elections ASAP so they can be completed by February (February is the latest allowed under the bylaws).


Nominations are made at a full membership meeting of the unit. However, there is no reason not to open up nominations ahead of time, allowing members to submit nominations to the unit secretary or an election committee, so names of candidates can circulate ahead of the meeting.

If there is only one nominee for a position, that person assumes the office. If there is more than one candidate for any position, there is an election— with slightly different rules for units that have closed their first contract, and units that are still fighting for their contract.


If there is more than one candidate for an office in a unit with a contract, the local will conduct a mail-in ballot election presided over by the Local Election Committee. Units that don’t have a contract can conduct their elections via email or electronic poll.

The CNG Election Committee members are: Tim Campbell (Local Secretary); Phillip Montoro (Chicago Reader Unit Chair) and Denise O’Neal (Sun-Times Exec Board Delegate).


TNG has adopted best practices for units that have yet to close a first contract, because having democratic elections is important for building an engaged, responsive and democratic unit from the start.

Here is a doc from TNG on unit structures and conduct of elections.

Below is a sample timeline from TNG for a 3-4 week election process for new units.

Election process (units without contracts, per TNG best practices):

A simple 3-4 week process can be defined as:

  1. Nomination period notice and announcement (2 weeks) and includes: eligibility requirements, position description, election process description and timetable.
  2. Meeting for nominees to accept nominations
  3. Please note some election committees in smaller units or where there are few nominations consult with the nominees one-on-one to talk through positions and confirm nominations.
  4. Election notice announces nominees, confirms time for voting (1-2 weeks)
  5. Election close notice with election outcome.

If you have any questions about how to conduct your elections, please don’t hesitate to contact Local President Andy Grimm (president@chicagonewsguild.org or (312) 835-3230) or Executive Director Craig Rosenbaum (craigrosenbaum@chicagonewsguild.org).

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