By David Groves
There once was a time when labor issues and progressive causes were not only extensively covered in the local media, they appeared in newspapers published by the unions themselves.
The University of Washington’s Labor Press Project documents the union newspapers in the Pacific Northwest that were a critical part of the labor movement in the 1900s. Newspapers like the Seattle Union Record, The Industrial Worker and the Washington State Labor News – published by the Washington State Labor Council from 1924 to 1965 – thrived by offering a progressive populist source of information that was a welcome alternative to the commercial newspapers.
Over the second half of the 20th Century, those newspapers gradually disappeared. They were sometimes replaced by labor reporters at the commercial newspapers who covered the union beat. Eventually those reporters disappeared, too. And now, the commercial newspapers themselves are shrinking and disappearing.
That leaves those of us who care about unions and progressive issues with very few news outlets to learn about what’s happening in the labor movement. You’re reading one of the good ones right now, your monthly Retiree Advocate newsletter.
But now, there is a new daily labor “newspaper” available online in Washington State called The Stand – www.TheStand.org – that offers interactive news and opinion from across the state that hasn’t gone through the corporate filter of the for-profit media.
A project of the Washington State Labor Council and its affiliated unions, The Stand was launched on May Day 2011 to restore the kind of progressive populist source of information that once thrived, but has disappeared. It features daily news about and for working people. Its reports and opinion columns focus on creating and maintaining quality jobs, improving our families’ quality of life, promoting public policies that will restore shared prosperity, and other things that the rest of us care about. Plus, The Stand’s Calendar of Events lists labor rallies, conferences, workshops, and other events across the state.
In one week, The Stand featured news coverage of the paper workers Nippon Paper strike in Port Angeles, United Grain’s lockout of longshore workers in Vancouver, federal government workers National Day of Action to oppose federal sequestration budget cuts, Boeing technical workers approving the Boeing contract, letter carriers “Save 6-Day” rallies to preserve Saturday mail delivery, proposed legislation in Olympia that would undermine our state minimum and prevailing wage laws, a new report that finds Sea-Tac’s workforce standards are lower than those of other West Coast airports, and much more.
And that was just one week. Who knows what will be next!
The Stand is a free service and accepts no advertising. You can read it by visiting the website or by subscribing to receive it via email every weekday morning by 10 a.m. (Just click on “Join Our Email List” on the right side of the home page at www.TheStand.org to subscribe.) You can also “like” it on Facebook or follow it on Twitter for links to every new story as it is posted.
The Stand has quickly become a national model for electronic union publications. It swept the 2012 International Labor Communications Association awards in its category, winning First Awards honors for Best Content, Best Design and General Excellence.
I’m the Editor of The Stand. I have been writing and publishing news and opinion about Washington State since joining the WSLC staff in 1992. But there are many other progressive voices — both inside and outside the labor movement — who contribute content to The Stand.
So what are you waiting for? Go check out The Stand right now and subscribe to receive it every weekday via email. If you have any questions about it, or would like to submit a news article or opinion column, email me at david.groves@thestand. org.
David Groves is Editor of The Stand and a PSARA member.