Since 2008, The Union Edge has led robust but respectful discussions on issues that affect working and middle-class families – education, voting, health care, employment rights, community activism and more. Host Charles Showalter and co-hosts Angela Baughman and Brittany Sheets interview citizen group leaders, international union presidents, labor historians, environmental experts, activists and reporters of all kinds, discussing breaking news and top issues that impact day to day life. The Union Edge reaches across the table and political aisle to find common ground and appeal to labor, progressives, and moderates, bringing together both young and old in solidarity.
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Workers Independent News (WIN) is focused on the issues and concerns of working people. As a news service, WIN is devoted to bringing the voices of workers, their families, communities and organizations to the widest public possible, using all means of electronic media. WIN packages news for distribution to radio stations, Internet radio, websites, for podcast and print publication.
WIN’s mission is to bring balance to news coverage by providing news and features focusing on:
Workers Independent News reaches 1,000,000 people on over 200 radio stations each weekday. WIN can also distribute news via any of 30 statewide radio networks. By placing a daily newscast on these networks, we can reach the key demographics that we must win to our point of view. These networks reach smaller towns and suburban areas, in addition to the cities. They are the trusted hometown stations that local people tune into daily.
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When WIN does a story about a union, we often provide that organization with an audio clip & text for further distribution to their members, or to the press. In addition, WIN offers training and assistance to unions and community-based organizations in the technical aspects of reporting, radio production and media relations.
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Editor in chief and owner of Press Associates Union News Service, Mark Gruenberg produces the nation’s top weekly independent news service for unions, their media and their members.
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Online publications and blogs often allow comments. Some of these sites require you to sign up before commenting and give you the option of creating a username or giving your real name. Others require you to comment using Facebook.
Often these sites will only show the first few comments which are visible to everyone viewing the article. These comments can be a unique opportunity for your organization’s active members to help deliver your message.
AFT Connecticut’s Rapid Response Team
During the 2012 state legislative session, AFT Connecticut created a Rapid Response Team of more than twenty members willing to post comments on the issue of Education Reform.
The Response Team received a welcome email explaining what was expected of them:
Greetings AFTCT Response Team Member!
Articles, blogs, and editorials are being written every day about education reform. We are calling on you to be our voice on the Internet.
Each day we will be emailing you links to stories where we need comments. We will provide you talking points to help you write your comments.
Some of these sites require you to sign up before commenting and give you the option of creating a username or giving your real name. We will leave that to you as to which name you want to give. Others require you to comment using Facebook.
If each of you comments on 2-3 of these posts each day we will greatly increase the reach of our message on education reform.
Each day the Rapid Response Team received an email containing links to online news stories and blog posts about Education Reform and the issue(s) they covered. Team members were given talking points on these issues that contained the union’s message.
Articles and Blog Posts for Feb. 16
The New Haven Experiment
Talking Points: New Haven has shown that teachers, unions, and administrators can work together to develop an evaluation system that gives teachers the support they need while creating an efficient system for the removal of ineffective teachers.
“…only thing you have to do is show up for four years,” – Dan Malloy
Talking Points: If we are going to recruit and retain teachers, especially in our urban areas, we need a system that treats teachers with dignity and respect, and gives them the support they need to be successful.
Up next: Shared sacrifice for retired teachers
Talking Points: Teachers have to work 37 years before they can retire. The state must honor its promise to those retired teachers. Options like healthcare pooling can help reduce health care costs for retirees and the state.
Michelle Rhee’s Unafraid To Stir Things Up, And Maybe That’s Not So Bad
Malloy to Join Anti-Teacher, Anti-Union Forces at Capitol
Talking Points: Michelle Rhee was an ineffective educator and a failed school chancellor in DC who refuses to work together with teachers. Now she’s funded by right-wing corporate groups intent on destroying teachers unions and public education. Connecticut needs people who are willing to work together, not a snake oil salesman like Rhee.
Two Hearings Next Week On Malloy’s Education Bill
Talking Points: Legislators need to listen to Connecticut’s 50,000 educators who are doing the work in the classroom every day. They understand best what works and what doesn’t.
Virtually every post contained at least one comment from a Rapid Response Team member. Over the course of the first month, there was an increase in comments that mirrored the organization’s message from non-Response Team Members. Several state legislators cited comments they had seen online as a gauge of public opinion on the issue.
Ultimately the education reform bill passed had the direct input of AFT Connecticut in the language. Whether online comments had a direct impact on this cannot be measured; however, there is evidence that shows that the tenor of comments can change the interpretation of the news story (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/opinion/sunday/this-story-stinks.html?_r=0)
Creating a Rapid Response Team can be a useful way of engaging members who are very active online (e.g. social media) and expand your union’s message.