Sunday, January 15, 2006

F The LA Times

Falling down on the job on labor coverage
An occasional feature in which The Times invites outside critics to beat up on a Southern California newspaper that is celebrating its 125th birthday.
By Peter Dreier, Peter Dreier is professor of politics and director of the urban and environmental policy program at Occidental College.

UNION ACTIVISTS and allies are buzzing about The Times' critical four-part series on the United Farm Workers, published last week. But many wonder why the newspaper devoted so many words and resources to this front-page attack on the UFW but fails to routinely cover the day-to-day work of union organizing and, equally important, the job conditions that workers face.

You can usually count on The Times to cover unions when they strike. When several major unions recently bolted from the AFL-CIO to form an alternative labor group, the newspaper ran several stories about internal union disputes that led to the rupture and the possible consequences for the labor movement. Two years ago, The Times' series on Wal-Mart's treatment of its workers and worldwide business operations won several top journalism prizes.


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