Panel Discussion on Labor and the Media

Panel Discussion: Labor and the Media: Labor Adapts its Message to Changing Media Environments
Thurs., May 20, 2021
7 p.m. ET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82000542861?pwd=YlNubW9iU1JUWXNHcjZGK1dVVlZSUT09
Meeting ID: 820 0054 2861
Passcode: 700045
Call-in numbers

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Panelists:

Organized by the New York Labor History Association and co-sponsored by ILCA, the Metro NY Labor Communications Council, United Hebrew Trades, the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and the New York Jewish Labor Committee.

In Defense of Democracy

“Democracy and the labor movement are one and the same,” writes AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in the Chicago Sun Times.

“Working People Respond to Attempted Coup at Nation’s Capitol” aggregates the rapid-response statements of many AFL-CIO and ILCA member unions.

AFL-CIO Working People’s Plan for Reopening the Economy the Right Way

On an April 21 conference call, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka outlined an economic reconstruction agenda that prioritizes the health and safety of workers.

Unemployment Questions

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AFL-CIO COVID-19 Resources

Visit this AFL-CIO webpage for updated information and resources.

What’s a Union?

Take it from these insightful kids. Warning: watching this Machinists video will result in heart palpitations. Cuteness overload ahead.

In the Words of Steven Greenhouse

Steven Greenhouse at D.C.’s Politics & Prose Bookstore in August 2019.

As ILCA prepares for its November convention, we find the stage effectively set via Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, the new book by respected labor journalist Steven Greenhouse. In our version of Cliff’s Notes, we’ve compiled excerpts to present a sense of the book.

The jacket cover defines it as “an in-depth look at working men and women in America, the challenges they face, and the ways in which they can be re-empowered.”

On the back cover, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich critiqued the book this way.

In this riveting account of the rise and fall of organized labor, Steven Greenhouse tells the stories of courageous men and women who put their jobs and often their lives on the line to help American workers gain the income and the dignity they deserve. Greenhouse outlines how a workers’ movement could be rekindled, and why it must be. Deeply inspiring and profoundly important.

On the subject of labor communications, Greenhouse draws this conclusion.

Unions also need to do a better job communicating. Many unions are headed by shrewd tacticians who do a fine job wrestling with management at the bargaining table but do far less well conveying labor’s message on television or to the public, or even to workers in their industry. To get labor’s message across — and, importantly, to attract and inspire young workers (and to obtain TV and radio bookings) — every national union should appoint a smart, appealing young spokesperson or policy director. If union presidents fear that this person will eclipse them in the public eye, that’s a risk that must be taken to do what’s best for the nation’s workers.

Let’s carry on the conversation in person. See you in D.C. in November.

Meet Public News Service

ILCA invites members to get to know Public News Service, a wire service that distributes stories about workers and unions. Here’s a video introduction.

PNS is sharing the following message with ILCA members.

If you’re planning media outreach as part of your election and legislative communications, consider becoming a member of Public News Service. As a newswire for public interest news, PNS has over 20 years of experience working with local media outlets around the country to produce the news, rooted in solid journalistic ethics, that reaches a wide audience who is far beyond the traditional “choir” of progressive advocates.

Currently PNS reaches over seven million people a day on AM talk radio, Christian broadcasting, top-of-the-hour FM drive-time across music genres, and community broadcasters, as well as local newspapers, TV stations, and online/mobile. PNS has the expertise and desire to tell your stories and move the public narrative towards positive change. PNS manages independent news services in 37 states. PNS stories can be distributed statewide, regionally, or nationally.

PNS members are organizations – NGOs, unions, foundations, and social enterprises – and individuals that “fund a beat,” covering critical issues that receive too little coverage, lifting up often marginalized voices, and making greater journalistic breadth available to broadcasters and publishers on any platform. On a day-to-day basis, producers link with hundreds of grassroots organizations who keep PNS informed on a cross-cutting range of social justice, environmental, and economic issues. PNS members pitch stories on their beat, or PNS producers reach out to members with ideas.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a Public News Service member, contact Josh Wise, Director of Business Development, at jwise@publicnewsservice.org or (952) 818-5474.

May Day 2019

Thanks to our member Chicago Federation of Labor for posting this May Day video to social media. Produced by Trades Union Congress across the pond, it’s 1:24 of time well spent today. See also the accompanying TUC blog post.

A Stronger Free Press

The 3/6/19 AFL-CIO Labor Wire newsletter focused on recent media industry layoffs. Under the subject line “A stronger free press,” Labor Wire reported the following.

In the face of a media industry that is shamelessly slashing newsroom staff, journalists are joining together in droves to fight back for dignity on the job, economic stability and a stronger free press.

Photo by Labor Wire / AFL-CIO

Message of the Day — A Stronger Free Press

Even as they increasingly are harassed and vilified by the people they cover, journalists continue to face an onslaught from their own industry.

Newsrooms cut some 15,474 jobs last year, a 281% increase from 2017 and the highest number since the Great Recession. That trend has continued into 2019, with more than 2,200 media employees losing their jobs at outlets ranging from BuzzFeed and HuffPost to regional and local newspapers around the country.

These conditions have only further highlighted the need for strong unions in the newsroom. For example, when unionized HuffPost employees were laid off, their contract included collectively bargained severance packages and fair layoff notifications. Meanwhile, the CEO of BuzzFeed, who long had argued that unions weren’t “right” for the company, tried to avoid paying out unused paid time off to nonunionized, laid-off employees.

This type of injustice from management has only further driven workers to solidarity. Only months after layoffs were announced, BuzzFeed employees voted to organize with The NewsGuild of New York.

Kim Kelly, a labor organizer and writer, recently wrote about how her union helped her when she was laid off from Vice Media — and why the labor movement is critical for the industry as a whole. You can check out our interview with her on today’s “State of the Unions” podcast.