Giving Labor the Business? Changes in Business and Labor Reporting from 1980 to 2000

Source: David J. Park and Larry M. Wright, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 32 no. 1, March 2007
(subscription required)

This study empirically examines the extent to which business journalism has taken over labor reporting between 1980 and 2000. The authors conduct a content analysis of The New York Times , The Washington Post, and Associated Press during this time frame. Our results note a widening gap between labor and business coverage dramatically in favor of business-oriented journalism. Business journalists now cover labor issues. Qualitative and quantitative changes in coverage are discussed, as well as the implications from these trends. The authors suggest that labor groups invest in more media and/or public relations to better convey their messages.

Cowboy Campaigning: Patriotism, “Freedom,” and Right-to-Work in Oklahoma

Source: Judith L. King and Laurel C. Catlett-King, Labor Studies Journal, Vol.. 32 no. 1, March 2007
(subscription required)

The 2001 right-to-work referendum in Oklahoma provided unique challenges for the labor movement. This article examines the Oklahoma campaign in the context of right-to-work and other labor referendums and discusses the consequences of particular strategies used by the labor and business campaigns. The authors argue that despite a strong member mobilization campaign, the impact of September 11 and the influence of the print media may have been determining factors in the campaign.

2007 Employer Bargaining Objectives

Source: Joshua Joseph, David J. Group, Berenice Eberhart, Robert Combs, Daily Labor Report, BNA, no. 25, Wednesday, February 7, 2007
(subscription required)

BNA’s 2007 survey on employer bargaining objectives is based on survey responses from 105 participating employers with contracts expiring in 2007 and covers wage adjustments and other pay provisions, insurance and health benefits, pension and retirement plans, paid leave, other benefits and services, and job security.

Union Members in 2006

Source: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 25, 2007

In 2006, 12.0 percent of employed wage and salary workers were union members, down from 12.5 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of persons belonging to a union fell by 326,000 in 2006 to 15.4 million. The union membership rate has steadily declined from 20.1 percent in 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available.
Some highlights from the 2006 data are:
• Workers in the public sector had a union membership rate nearly five times that of private sector employees.
• Education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate among all occupations, at 37 percent.
• The unionization rate was higher for men than for women.
• Black workers were more likely to be union members than were white, Asian, or Hispanic workers.

How Are New Retirees Doing Financially in Retirement?

Source: Craig Copeland, EBRI Issue Brief, no. 302, February 2007

Although there has been extensive analysis of the accumulation of retirement assets in the United States, limited research has been done on how quickly Americans use their assets in retirement. Utilizing data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this Issue Brief examines those currently between ages 65 and 75 to determine their levels of wealth in retirement, how those levels have changed, and to see if this group is on track for a financially secure retirement.

Liar, Liar: The New Propaganda War Against Unions

Source: Esther Kaplan, New Labor Forum, Vol. 16 no. 1, Winter 2007

Who exactly is behind the Center [for Union Facts] its founder Richard Berman won’t say, except to note that he’s already raised $2.5 million from a variety of companies, trade organizations, and individuals. But the Chamber of Commerce, the leading pro-corporate lobby group, has its fingerprints all over the project, The AFL-CIO reports that Berman addressed a conference of the state Chambers of Commerce in January, where, according to one attendee, participants pledged millions of dollars in support. And Randel Johnson, a vice-president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, served as an advisor in creating the Center. (Sarah Longwell, spokesperson for the Center for Union Facts, did not return repeated phone calls requesting further information.)

Steel Magnolias: Labor Allies With the Environmental Movement

Source: David Foster, New Labor Forum, Vol. 16 no. 1, Winter 2007

The Donora disaster was the root cause of the USW’s subsequent embrace of environmental issues that led eventually to the founding on June 7, 2006 of a new Strategic Alliance between North America’s largest private sector manufacturing union, and the Sierra Club, the country’s oldest and largest grass-roots environmental organization. While the decision to align the USW and the Sierra Club originated in their shared history of supporting environmental protections like the Clean Air Act, the new Alliance was sparked by the accelerating pace of globalization and the seismic social shifts accompanying it. Both organizations realized that for the first time in human history any meaningful improvement in the economic well-being of the world’s population was dependent on the sustainable management of our planted and its resources.

The 2006 Immigrant Uprising: Origins and Future

Source: Victor Narro, Kent Wong, and Janna Shadduck-Hernández, New Labor Forum, Vol. 16 no. 1, Winter 2007

For three months between March 10 and May 1, 2006, five million mostly Latino Immigrants and their supporters demonstrated in over one hundred cities throughout the United States. The marches and rallies demanded full rights for immigrants, and opposed the anti-immigrant legislation pending in Congress. Immigrant families – women and men, grandparents and grandchildren – came out of the shadows of society to demand justice and equality.

Bad Jobs: The Overlooked Crisis in the Black Community

Source: Steven Pitts, New Labor Forum, Vol. 16 no. 1, Winter 2007

Thirty-five years after the end of the modern civil rights movement and the end of legal segregation, the United States still has a blind spot which renders invisible the impact of institutional racism on black life. In the arena of employment, this blind spot results in the limited view of the job crisis in the Black community – a view which focuses exclusively on unemployment. Just as white supremacy is rarely seen as a constituent aspect of U.S society, the plight of low-wage Black workers is rarely seen. The racism which only sees two segments of Black society – the elite who have made it and the “underclass” who has not – also keeps Blacks who toil in bad jobs in the shadows. This limited view results in a set of policies and programs which are ill equipped to address the complexities surrounding the reality of work facing Black Americans.