CNN and MSNBC should spend the upcoming Labor Day reporting on the boom of union activity in 2022.
Labor Day celebrates the American worker and the rights and gains they have won through many struggles and protests. In 1882, a march for shorter hours, higher pay, and safer working conditions was organized by New York socialists, labor organizers, and other leftists, and over time the tradition of marching spread to many other cities, eventually culminating in a federally mandated labor holiday.
In 2022, thousands of workers have fought for those same rights by unionizing. This year, workers have celebrated National Labor Relations Board election wins at the highest rate since 2005, with bargaining units in various size categories winning nearly 77% of their elections. Petitions for future elections with NLRB are up nearly 60%.
CNN and MSNBC have had a mixed record over the past year when it comes to their coverage of unions and the labor movement. CNN in particular has underreported some of the most important labor news, spending just 5 minutes on the Amazon Staten Island warehouse unionization vote and less than 6 minutes on the wave of Starbucks stores unionizing. While MSNBC has consistently spent the most coverage on labor news of all the networks, it still dropped the ball when it came to reporting on labor strikes in 2021; that year saw twice as many strikes as the year prior, including at major companies such as John Deere. Labor Day weekend is a great opportunity for these two major cable networks to devote some time to championing the hard-fought wins of workers this year.
Here are some pieces of recent union news that CNN and MSNBC could spend time highlighting on Labor Day:
- Gallup’s annual work and education survey showed that in 2022, 71% of Americans approve of labor unions, which is the highest approval rating since 1965 and a 23% jump since 2010.
- 15,000 nurses in Minnesota have authorized a strike after unsuccessful contract negotiations. Nurse Kelley Anaas, who is involved with union organizing, told Jacobin that they are “looking for ways to make our work and our patients safer.”
- The Major League Baseball Players Association recently sent out authorization cards to its minor league players, a group that has played without unionization for the past century. If the effort is successful, an estimated 5,000 players would be able to form their own bargaining unit.
- Starbucks workers continue to go on strike for unionization in cities like Eugene, Oregon, and Santa Cruz, California, in the midst of recent NLRB allegations that Starbucks withheld wages and benefits to unionized employees. There have been 209 union election wins for Starbucks workers, even as there are repeated busting attempts by management.
- The NLRB also recently ruled against Tesla’s dress code policy, stating that Tesla’s attempts to ban union clothing or insignias is “unlawful,” meaning Tesla workers can now express solidarity and support unionization within the company.
- Dancers in Los Angeles have filed a union petition with NLRB after months of organizing and picketing outside of the Star Garden club. If and when the petition is recognized, Star Garden will be the only unionized strip club in the country.