Seven decades of work and commitment for press workers

Founded on October 8, 1951, the Bahia Blanca Press Union celebrated its 70th anniversary last Friday. With more than 200 members, it is the only union entity with legal status that defends the interests of journalists in the city.

“This anniversary finds us at a pivotal moment in our history and that of journalism in general. In the last 20 years, the advancement of communication technologies has been dizzying, which has caused changes, both positive and negative, that we still have trouble assimilating, ”said the SPBB secretary general, Daniel Correa.

“The rise of social networks and the unstoppable advance of digital communication have generated a true revolution, the effects of which continually force workers, journalistic companies, media and advertisers to redefine their relationships with each other,” he added.

The union, stressed the union leader, has not been left out of these changes.

“Traditional forms of communication are in decline and their place is increasingly being occupied by new technologies. In this process, the end of which is not yet in sight, the central objective of our union is to support as many jobs as possible, ”Correa stressed.

“From this crisis that traditional media is suffering today, we intend to emerge strengthened, renewed, ready to face the changes that will undoubtedly continue to happen, without forgetting or letting go of everything that was left behind and we continue to go through this pandemic, a very difficult context and really complex, “he added.

Formed seven decades ago, the union was originally called the Southern Argentine Journalists Union. In October 1951, with 201 members and a stable headquarters in Lamadrid 213, it acquired its current name.

The union grew hand in hand with the city’s journalistic companies: written media, AM radios, then FM radio stations, and finally open and cable television channels. In recent years, it has also started adding journalists from digital media, a process that continues today.

“Digital journalism began within the traditional media themselves, whether written, radio or television, but in recent years we have found media whose only support is web pages or social networks, whose work dynamics have some very different characteristics than the others, ”Correa explained.

“The challenge is to adapt to the transformations that this new reality poses, but without resigning our objectives: the maintenance of labor sources, the absolute rejection of any informal or precarious practice that harms workers and press workers, and the search constant of better salary and working conditions ”, he completed.

From its formation to the current management, the union had 13 conductions. The contexts in which they worked were very different, but each one was imprinting its mark on the entity, always under the premise of adding services for members and members and their families.

Thanks to this, today the men and women of the Bahia Blanca press have one of the best managed social works in the city. With great effort and responsibility, they supported the work in this public health and sanitary emergency.

“One of the main concerns of our entity is social work,” underlined Juan Francisco Rinaldi, who began as president in September 2011 to become its treasurer today.

“The truth is that I have had difficult periods,” he reflected. Health costs have skyrocketed in recent years as a result of inflation, in addition to permanent technological advances, ”he stressed.

He stressed, however, that the administrative order and an efficient medical audit help to alleviate an otherwise complex scenario.

“Undoubtedly, the contributions of our collaborators and the medical auditor, Dr. Carlos Vallejo, allow us to make a difference,” he said.

Rinaldi pointed out that this anniversary marks an ideal moment to “thank those who contributed to give this social work the prestige it enjoys today in our city.”

“And this is where I want to dedicate a special paragraph to Rodrigo García, who has been collaborating for so many years and still continues to do so,” he stressed.

The executive committee – in accordance with the provisions of 2007 for all those who actively participate in union activity in the SPBB – works entirely ad honorem. And as the different periods and conductions went by, members of the different journalistic media of the city or area of ​​activity of the union have been incorporated.

The SPBB also has a complex of four cabins in the town of Villa Ventana, inaugurated on July 27, 1998, which members can access at a minimum daily cost. Each housing unit -located on Calle Mixto- has capacity for four people, and has a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, fireplace, stove, and semi-covered garage. In the center of the property – which has about 1,600 square meters – is located the octagonal multipurpose room, with fully glazed walls, equipped with a large fireplace and capacity for 16 people.

Another jewel of the entity’s heritage are the facilities of the corporate headquarters and the adjoining property, all on Calle Lamadrid at 200. In addition to the recycled house at Lamadrid 266, the union has a room for around 50 people that will soon be able to to be rented again by the affiliates and affiliates and their family group at a discounted cost.

“All the assets that the entity has, beyond its logical maintenance cost, continues and will continue to produce income, which at present is turning almost exclusively to providing benefits and coverage of social work,” said Correa.

“We will surely be one more link in the history of the Bahia Blanca Press Union, continuing many of the proposals and efforts of its successive members. We will always be on this path of permanent improvement and recognition of all that has been achieved ”, he added.

The look from the union secretariat

Danilo Belloni came to the union first as a delegate, at the impulse of his colleagues from LU2 Radio Blanca, and then accepted the challenge of being union secretary since September 2019.

“It is unpleasant as in any role to assume and after months to find something totally unexpected and exceptional like a pandemic. However, far from changing course, we redouble our efforts. Who is unaware of the daily work, in addition to the consultations in private, with more time can internalize everything that is done on social networks, “began the youngest union leader in the current leadership.

“When I took on such a responsibility, I was clear about some axes to work on, among which making the problem of the press workers visible was the main one. Generally little is said about wages and working conditions in our sector. I am clear that in these two years we have denounced and communicated our situation to the community. As a synthesis of this premise, I can refer to the statement that was replicated from the Board of Directors for Journalists’ Day, in which Fernando Renteria and Anabella Tarabelli were the visible faces of our problem, “he said.

On the other hand, Belloni was satisfied with another of the edges that are part of his daily task.

“We have relaunched a large number of trainings so that members and affiliates, communication workers in general and students permanently have at their disposal current knowledge in web tools, communication with a gender perspective, good practices around suicide communication and CPR, among others that are projected in the short term ”, he listed.

“Work is always more rewarding when done as a team. Each of the proposals has been formed together with a group of collaborators. I am always very grateful to those who selflessly offer their time and opinions. The work with the Gender Commission is a sample of this and as a result of these meetings, the possibility of having a cycle dictated by Luciana Peker, a reference in the matter, arose ”, he recalled.

Belloni did not miss a fact that worries him and that was transferred not only to those responsible for the media but also to the political authorities of the city and the region.

“In these two years we have held several meetings with media managers or coordinators in order to regularize working conditions. Nobody is unaware that the situation in the industry is complex, but many of the situations that occur every day must be progressively modified. Some shortcomings have already been solved or are in the process of being solved, but many remain. We will work on it as well as on the possibility of incorporating journalists who are not currently in a dependent relationship into the union, ”he said.

Finally, the 32-year-old leader said that another salient point in the management is participation within the CGT and dialogue with the Argentine Federation of Press Workers.

“We still do not know what scenario the post-pandemic will leave us, but if there is something I have no doubts about, it is that the only way to leave the problems behind will come from collective action,” he closed.

Equality in the media

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on the media. Although countries faced different realities, journalists experienced common challenges brought on by the health crisis. This situation worsened in each situation in which the profession was exercised by a woman.

“The International Federation of Journalists released in July 2020 a survey in which more than 500 female journalists from 52 countries participated, including Argentina, and concluded that the pandemic and related measures to mitigate it increased the inequality of gender in the media ”, indicated Anabella Tarabelli, secretary of Social Action of the SPBB.

Women journalists, especially during 2020, were chosen to telework in isolation, bearing the full burden of family care and home education, in a context of stress and permanent fear of job loss .

“With the new normal and the advance in vaccination, we returned little by little to the newsrooms and radio and TV studios, and we again encountered structural inequalities in the media,” he said.

Regarding the policies with a gender perspective applied during the pandemic, few have been aimed at addressing the emergency by supporting the incorporation of women into the labor market and improving their working conditions.

“You don’t have to be a specialist to notice and think about the places and spaces occupied by both men and women and LGBTI + people. Men occupy the space of power in the media and this is directly linked to the salary issue, ”said Tarabelli.

“Having equal wages means that women and men receive the same remuneration when they do the same work. The global gender pay gap today is estimated to be 23%. That is, women earn, on average, 77% of what men earn for the same job, “he added.

“Journalism is no exception to this injustice. The gender pay gap is not due to the fact that women are less qualified, but rather because their access to jobs with better salaries is limited ”, he completed.

“Although more communicators have joined in recent years, the glass ceiling in the media continues to exist; in the first instance, because we do not occupy key hierarchical positions, and secondly, because even in the base positions we are less ”, he continued.

“The bet is to continue on the path of making the problem visible, joining men in these processes of resignification so that the times to come are more just and egalitarian and less violent,” he concluded.

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