Nov
28
2012

Reporting on Sweatshops When Your Boss is in the Sweatshop Business

abc-bangladesh

ABC World News has done two pretty tough reports from Brian Ross on the horrible fire at the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh that killed 114 workers. On November 25, Ross talked about the shameful record, as previously reported by ABC News, of more than 600 garment factory fire deaths in Bangladesh over the last five years, a place of the cheapest labor in the world and some of the most deplorable conditions. And Ross named names: Workers' activists went into the burned-out remains today to document which major retailers they say were using the Tazreen factory. They say they […]

Feb
13
2012

For NYT, Apple Making Less Profit Is Not Even an Option

In the Times Sunday Review Jesse Kornbluth writes (2/12/12): There are things that do not happen in the real world. Noam Chomsky becoming president. Unflattering photos of Jennifer Aniston. Apple doubling the price of iPhones so its Chinese assemblers can work a 40-hour week. OK, I know he's being cheeky (Chomsky hasn't declared as a presidential candidate yet), but there is still something that should be said about this idea that Apple products simply have to be manufactured in sweatshops. Last week, the Times tech writer David Pogue (2/9/12) made a similarly flawed argument: Bringing workplace standards and pay in […]

Feb
28
2011

What Union Voices Mean to the Wisconsin Debate

As we noted here, there weren't many labor voices booked on the Sunday morning chat shows. One, actually–Richard Trumka from the AFL-CIO. ABC's This Week featured four governors (two Democrats, two Republicans) talking about their fiscal problems. CBS's Face the Nation had a soft interview with New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Host Bob Schieffer asked him one question that began, "You have a reputation as a straight talker, I think…." Schieffer went on to play a clip of Christie bravely calling for Social Security cuts. Instead of questioning Christie's totally inaccurate premise–that you "have to raise the retirement age"–Schieffer […]

Feb
25
2011

Where Are the Workers' Voices?

As best I can tell, the labor battle in Wisconsin is a big story–and maybe the biggest labor story in years. But as Amanda Terkel reported at the Huffington Post, that doesn't mean you're going to see union advocates on the Sunday chat shows. Terkel noted: A union official told the Huffington Post that when none of the Sunday shows' producers reached out to them to book a labor representative this week, several unions started to pitch the shows with affected workers and local and national leaders who they felt could discuss the protests. The official said the response from […]

Feb
23
2011

Breaking News: There Is a Labor Movement. In the United States, Even!

I read this in the New York Times a few days ago (2/19/11): The images from Wisconsin–with its protests, shutdown of some public services and missing Democratic senators, who fled the state to block a vote–evoked the Middle East more than the Midwest. There's a labor movement in this country? And in theMidwest, even!?

Aug
10
2009

GE Workers Don't Know One 'Successful Unionized Co.'

Partisan blogger Nick (8/6/09) has republished a new email campaign from American Rights at Work that reviews how, "just before Bear Stearns went under, CNBC's Jim Cramer had strong advice for his Mad Money viewers: buy Bear Stearns stock, and fast!" Of course, "then the company imploded and thousands of ordinary people saw their retirement savings vanish. Oops." Nick continues: Now Cramer is telling his viewers the Employee Free Choice Act will hurt the U.S. economy. Cramer was wrong then, he's wrong now! But this time we know exactly what will happen if viewers listen: Millions will lose out financially. […]

Feb
06
2009

Help Challenge Media Misinformation on Labor Bill

A new FAIR action alert is targeting CNN host Lou Dobbs for peddling anti-union propaganda about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), after Dobbs falsely suggested on his show (Lou Dobbs Tonight, 2/4/09) that the proposed new labor law would "end a secret ballot." In fact, the EFCA would not take away workers' rights to have a secret vote if they choose to; it would take away employers' ability to force workers to have such a vote. (Click here to watch Dobbs' misleading report about EFCA.) You can take action by emailing Dobbs at lou.dobbs@turner.com. Please copy and paste your […]

Dec
10
2008

The Post's 'Battle' Over Card Check

Today's Washington Post (12/9/08) features an article on the possibilities for Employee Free Choice Act– a measure that would recognize card-check unionization drives. EFCA has been pushed by labor groups and their allies, and the Post envisions the real battle is to come–hence the headline, "Battle Deepens Over Union Organizing: Labor May Be Key Issue for New Congress." But in the Post, it's not much of a battle at all–judging, at least, by whom the paper decides to quote. Three critics of the measure are cited: Rick Berman of the Center for Union Facts, Katie Packer of the Workforce Fairness […]

Dec
05
2008

ABC Distorts Auto Worker Pay

FAIR has a new Action Alert up about ABC's gross exaggeration of auto worker compensation. Feel free to post messages sent to ABC here–or any responses you get from the network.

Dec
03
2008

Silver Lining in Economic Crisis: Obama Can Betray Voters

The media trope that presidents-elect ought to break progressive campaign promises really displays the anti-democratic and pro-corporate biases of the press at their most glaring. Who cares what you told the voters? Here's what the interests that really matter want you to do. The latest instance in this sad series is a USA Today editorial (12/2/08), which eagerly spots a silver lining in the economic crisis: During his campaign…Obama endorsed a number of smaller bore ideas more for the sake of their political appeal than for their economic usefulness. The financial crisis gives the incoming president a compelling rationale to […]

Dec
01
2008

Robert Samuelson's Not-To-Do List

Today's column by Robert Samuelson (Washington Post, 12/1/08) is a classic of the "why the president-elect must break progressive campaign promises" genre. Usually, of course, the new president should keep such promises: Obama won the election, and in normal times, his campaign agenda ought to be front and center. But these are not normal times, and what's most important now–as he repeatedly emphasizes–is to prevent the recession from feeding on itself. And you do that, inevitably, by making sure not to do anything that makes corporations nervous. Any program to refashion the energy and healthcare sectors–to take two obvious candidates–would […]

Nov
27
2008

CNN Loses Battle With Unionized Workers

This news comes from an AFL-CIO blog (via Adam Serwer at TAPPED): This report likely wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t be on CNN's Headline News, but after five years, former workers at CNN have finally gained justice. In a decision made public today, an administrative law judge ordered the network to rehire 110 workers who were fired because they were union members. CNN also was ordered to recognize the workers' unions, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA (NABET-CWA) locals 31 and 11. JudgeArthur Amchanfound that CNN violated the rights of more than 250 employees at the networkâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s bureaus in Washington, D.C., and New […]

Nov
18
2008

Unions Aren't Booking Themselves on TV Shows

In "Clout Has Plunged for Automakers and Union, Too," the New York Times' Micheline Maynard makes this curious observation: [GM CEO Rick ]Wagoner and Ron Gettelfinger, head of the UAW, appeared on local TV in Detroit this week, but no Detroit representatives landed spots on the Sunday morning talk shows out of Washington. Senator Levin was their primary spokesman on NBC's Meet the Press and Face the Nation on CBS. Whileit might be odd for a CEO like Wagoner to have trouble getting on the TV talkshow circuit, the lack of a labor spokesperson on the Sunday shows is pretty […]