December 4, 2014: With the retirement of the dean of labor reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal is now the only newspaper with a full-time labor reporter.
As of today, the number of reporters assigned to primarily cover labor and workers' issues in the US has fallen by half: from two to one!
Steven Greenhouse, labor reporter for The New York Times, took a buy-out this week and retired. He will not be replaced.
That leaves just one paper with a labor reporter: The Wall Street Journal. The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and its editorial posture is anti-labor and pro- right to work (for less).
Twenty years ago, there were dozens of reporters covering unions and workers’ issues. The two Detroit papers had two labor reporters each, for example.
Ken Crowe, who wrote the definitive book Collision on the rise of Ron Carey, covered labor full-time for Long Island Newsday.
Almost every major newspaper, from Washington to Pittsburgh to St Louis to Seattle and Los Angeles had a full-time labor reporter.
These reporters developed contacts in the labor movement and understood workers’ issues. Now they are gone from the scene, and as result, workers’ issues are often invisible.
Our union and working class issues are covered by business reporters. These reporters usually have contact with Wall Street, CEOs, and investment experts. When they cover unions – or issues of pensions, health care, free trade, workplace safety, or minimum wage – it is too often from the perspective of their corporate contacts.
All the more important for the labor movement and our community allies to work together to get our stories – the stories of the majority of Americans – out to the public and keep workers’ issues on our nation’s political agenda.