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
24
2011

The Public Doesn't Hate Public Workers

As Josh Marshall noted recently, one of the assumptions in the media discussion about Wisconsin is that Republican politicians are playing on public outrage over the perks given to public workers. That assumption took a hit after a new Gallup Poll, reported on the front page of USA Today, found this: Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA Today/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61 percent would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33 percent who would favor such a […]

Jul
23
2009

'Strength in Bargaining' Still, When Deals 'Done Fairly'

Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher (7/21/09) is reporting that newspaper union representatives claim a victory of sorts in the Boston Newspaper Guild's refusal to accept a deal that "called for smaller benefit cuts and a furlough, but a higher 8.3 percent salary reduction." The Boston Globe eventually agreed instead to "a 5.94 percent salary cut, a one-week furlough, a pension freeze and healthcare cost increase." Strupp quotes Guild president Bernie Lunzer saying the result "does demonstrate that there is strength in bargaining," that "people can push back" and they "are correct now to question what management is doing, to […]

Jun
14
2009

'Brutish' NYT Offends Even Other Owners

Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald gives ample space (6/12/09) to New York Times chief Arthur Sulzberger Jr. to proclaim he had "no alternative other than to proceed with the wage reduction" of 23 percent at the Boston Globe, because the Globe union's "Guild leaders made [agreement] impossible," and even quotes the Newspaper Guild president admitting "mistakes were made." But the telling part comes in a quote showing even the most corporate of figures aghast at NYT Co. conduct: Retired General Electric CEO Jack Welch "tweeted" on Twitter yesterday and blasted the Times Co.'s "brutish" treatment of Globe workers. Welch […]

Jun
04
2009

In Crisis, NYT Co. Bleeds Globe Union Members

If you've ever wondered why the New York Times' labor coverage is just so bad, a lot can be learned by looking at the company's treatment of its own workers. Newspaper Guild president Dan Totten has published an open letter (6/3/09) about how the Boston Globe-owning Times has chosen to "behave in a highly challenging situation" and what his union has "learned about New York Times Company management–and its unwillingness to share the pain of overcoming this crisis": Guild members haven't seen a pay raise in four years. And they are well prepared to take a pay cut to help […]

Jun
04
2009

Media Love 'Horrendous' – if False – Card Check Impact

Washington Monthly contributing editor Art Levine has a piece for In These Times (5/31/09) reporting on economist Anne Layne-Farrar's recent congressional appearance in which she warned about the horrendous impact of the Employee Free Choice Act. Its potential to increase union membership from between five and 10 percent, she said, 'would result in an increase in the unemployment of around one and a half to three percentage points.' Levine tells us how "Fox 'Fair and Balanced' News, naturally, in its TV report neglected to mention that her 'research' was funded by the corporate-friendly, anti-union 'Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs,'" […]

Jun
01
2009

D.C.'s 'Fox on 15th Street' Still Hates Unions

Spotting a May 31 Washington Post column "that blamed the United Auto Workers for the bankruptcy of Chrysler and GM," Dean Baker declares (Beat the Press, 5/31/09) that the D.C. daily "showed yet again why it is known as "Fox on 15th Street": So what if Toyota has managed to profitably run a plant in California represented by the UAW for more than two decades? So what if wages of unionized autoworkers in profitable car companies in Europe and Japan are the same or higher than in the United States? So what if the proximate cause of the bankruptcy was […]

May
09
2009

Employee Free Choice for 'Very Slow Reporters'

Asking "Can We Get Reporters to Stop Saying That EFCA Takes Away the Secret Ballot?" Dean Baker bluntly states (Beat the Press, 5/7/09) that "it's not true." Even though this is one of the "most often repeated lines of the opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act"–"that it will deny workers the right to vote decide on a union with a secret-ballot election"–Baker explains exactly how "that is wrong, wrong and wrong": First of all, workers do not currently enjoy that right. Maybe that should be repeated a few times in case there are any very slow reporters reading: Workers […]

Mar
10
2009

WSJ Furthers Common Card Check Distortions

Writing that someone needs to "Tell the WSJ: Workers Can Already Unionize Without a Secret Ballot Election" (Beat the Press, 3/10/09), Dean Baker details how big media still gets this wrong: Okay, let's see if we can teach the Wall Street Journal something this morning. In an article reporting on the prospects for the Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate, the WSJ told readers that "the bill would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot, giving employees the power to organize by simply signing cards agreeing to join." Wrong! The current law already allows workers to organize […]