Covering the Verizon Strike: Are the Bosses Telling the Truth?

Labor disputes are often about compensation– salary and/or benefits. Management claims its employees are actually doing just fine, workers say otherwise. 45,000 Verizon workers are on strike on the East Coast over salary, pension and health benefits and collective bargaining rights. One would hope that reporters would try to referee such disputes over compensation. In the New York Times, Steven Greenhouse prints the claims side by side. Yesterday: Verizon called its unionized employees well paid, saying that many field technicians earn more than $100,000 a year, including overtime, with an additional $50,000 in benefits. But union officials say that the […]


NYT’s Greenhouse vs. ‘Generous’ Public Worker Compensation

Yesterday New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse (6/16/11) reported on efforts in several states to get public-sector workers to increase contributions to state pension funds–or, to put it more bluntly, to take a pay cut. Political leaders are claiming this is simply the only thing they can do–and Greenhouse helps them make their case. Right from the start, Greenhouse frames the political shift as “the most definitive sign yet that the era of generous compensation for public-sector employees is ending.” Many studies have shown that public sector compensation isn’t actually all that generous, and such workers might lag slightly […]


NYT’s Labor Reporter Pits ‘Swaggering’ Public Workers Against ‘Taxpayers’

In a mostly informative “news analysis” (“Ohio’s Anti-Union Law Is Tougher Than Wisconsin’s,” New York Times, 4/1/11) comparing new anti-union laws that restrict collective bargaining rights in Ohio and Wisconsin, New York Times labor and workplace correspondent Steven Greenhouse seems at one point to adopt the framing and language of anti-labor politicians and pundits: Moreover, at a time of huge budget deficits and of Republican dominance in many states, including states like Ohio and Wisconsin where unions once had swaggering power, the pendulum has swung toward the taxpayer instead of the government workers paid by the taxpayer. Pitting “swaggering” unionized […]