Unions

By Tom Blumer | May 27, 2015 | 11:07 PM EDT

This has to be the month's top entry in the "Just when you think you've seen it all" category — and it will be more than a little interesting to see how the nation's press handles it.

As the Associated Press reported a week ago, the City Council in Los Angeles, by a vote of 14-1, ordered the drafting of a law mandating a citywide minimum wage of $15 per hour by 2020, noting that "the support of Mayor Eric Garcetti virtually guarantee its eventual adoption." Now that it's almost a done deal, labor unions whose members earn less want to be exempt from the law. Seriously. And it's not that the unions were caught off guard, because the person who is most visibly arguing for the exemption "helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition"! Apparently caught completely flat-footed, three Los Angeles Times reporters, in a rare break from the paper's non-stop leftist bias, filed a fair and balanced report on the truly offensive situation.

By Tom Blumer | May 22, 2015 | 10:12 PM EDT

Given how much wailing and gnashing of teeth there was in the press when the old Hostess liquidated in 2012, a mid-April story at Forbes on the company's has gotten surprisingly little attention. Well, maybe it's not that much of a surprise, for reasons which will be indentified here.

Readers may recall that the final straw in that drama occurred late that year when the the AFL-CIO-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers union called a strike after rejecting management clearly communicated final offer. The company, already in bankruptcy, was through negotiating, and chose to liquidate. The press moaned about how all of this meant the end of an era. Steven Bertoni's Forbes writeup shows how wrong they were, and what a business can accomplish when it's not saddled with legacy costs and constraints.

By Tom Blumer | April 29, 2015 | 9:27 PM EDT

Well, this is awkward — or rather, it would be if the press cared about the federally-driven tyranny which is in the process of capturing the nation's public and private K-12 schools.

Common Core's proponents have insisted and still insist that "it was and will remain a state-led effort" (italics is theirs). Yet when faced with the "problem" of too many parents opting out of its intrusive testing regime — something they are supposedly free to do without penalty or reprisal — guess who steps in with threats and smears? You guessed it: Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

By Curtis Houck | April 16, 2015 | 3:12 AM EDT

In response to the far-left and union-led protests nationwide on Wednesday for a $15 minimum wage for fast-food and retail workers, NBC Nightly News applauded the protests with a glowing report that felt more like a campaign commercial. Disguised as a segment on the broader topic of income inequality, interim anchor Lester Holt and correspondent Stephanie Gosk led the way in offering no opposing viewpoint and largely downplayed the political motivations behind the event.

By Tom Blumer | March 6, 2015 | 10:50 PM EST

One mantra that the left and most of the establishment press continually recites — and it's not surprising, given that so many people in both groups are forced to be members themselves — is that right to work laws are "anti-union." They cling to that position despite that fact that the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation accurately insists that it "is neither 'anti-union' nor 'pro-union,'" and that its "focus is on individual freedom."

Towards the end of the Associated Press's coverage of Wisconsin's legislative passage and Governor Scott Walker's imminent signing of right to work legislation, a Republican supporter made a point using real numbers which should give pause to those who claim that right to work is all about union-busting — but almost definitely won't:

By Tom Blumer | February 27, 2015 | 11:28 PM EST

A couple of thousand protesters have showed up to rail against the Wisconsin Legislature's move to pass right to work legislation this week.

That number is far smaller than what was seen four years ago, when Badger State Governor Scott Walker championed Act 10, a budget repair bill which limited — but please note, contrary to frequent press assertions, did not eliminate — most public-sector unions' collective bargaining rights. Todd Richmond's Wednesday evening coverage of the situation in Madison at the Associated Press got plenty of perspectives from union members and others upset with the legislature's latest move, but predictably failed to get any insights from right to work supporters or those skeptical of protesters' positions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbereed tags are mine):

By Clay Waters | February 17, 2015 | 4:28 PM EST

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a reformist conservative and Republican presidential hopeful for 2016, has become a media target, from making a stink of Walker evading an evolution question to obsessing over his college years. Next up: Ripping Walker's proposed cuts to the state university system's operating budget. New York Times reporter Julie Bosman took advantage of Tuesday's front page to portray Walker's university cuts as tarnishing the very ideal of the university in "2016 Ambitions Seen in Bid for Wisconsin Cuts."

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2015 | 6:50 PM EST

The world's smallest violin this week goes to Politico labor reporter Mike Elk.

Elk, who has bragged about unionizing workplaces where he has previously toiled, is working on doing the same thing at the alleged news site, which is really a Democratic Party stenography machine posing as one. His major complaint, seen in an item by Erik Wemple at his Washington Post blog, follows the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 27, 2015 | 10:02 PM EST

On Friday, Melissa Quinn at the Daily Signal, after the release of the government's "Union Members -- 2014" report, uniquely observed that the unionized percentage of the public- and private-sector nonagricultural wage and salary U.S. workforce had reached "its lowest rate in 100 years." From what I can tell in web and news searches, despite the fact that virtually any 100-year record is ordinarily considered newsworthy, no major establishment press outlet has reported what Quinn found.

The report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statisics claims that 1983 is "the first year for which comparable union data are available." Perhaps, but there is data available going back much further, and it has been used occasionally in previous media reports. That data also indicates that private-sector union membership is at its lowest point since the turn of the century — from the 19th to the 20th century, that is.

By Tom Blumer | January 23, 2015 | 4:46 PM EST

Someone looking at the annual "Union Members" report released this morning by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics would logically conclude that 2014 was a year organized labor would rather forget.

While average nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by over 2.32 million from 2013 to 2014, union membership only went up by 48,000, or about 2 percent of the nationwide increase. Additionally, the private sector's 41,000-person pickup in union membership was only 1.6 percent of its total 2.55 million increase. Yes, that means that public-sector union membership increased a bit while public-sector employment declined by 226,000. Of course, no such decidedly negative nuggets made their way into Labor Secretary Tom Perez's press release or Tom Raum's Associated Press report, excerpts of which follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Curtis Houck | December 18, 2014 | 11:52 PM EST

In addition to its slanted coverage of the news regarding Cuba, NBC Nightly News on Thursday offered up a biased segment against the growing transportation company Uber by using two incidents involving its drivers to conclude that Uber’s currently experiencing “a rough ride” over “increasing concerns” regarding safety.

NBC News correspondent Janet Shamulian only interviewed two individuals during her entire two-minute-and-19-second segment, with both being firmly against Uber and using the company as well.

By Tom Blumer | December 7, 2014 | 9:52 PM EST

Just before Thanksgiving, Our Walmart and the United Food and Commerical Workers went into high gear in their effort to draw attention to their advocacy of $15-per-hour minimum wage at the nation's largest retailer. Just after the holiday, I pointed to a column by the Manhattan Institute's Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who quickly discovered that many Kroger employees represented by the UFCW earn far less.

It didn't take much additional research to demonstrate that any fair and balanced reporting on the union's Our Walmart activities should note that "thousands of UFCW members, and perhaps even a majority, earn less, and often far less, than $15 per hour."