As destiny would have it, just days after Amazon used illegal tactics to derail a drive by warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama to unionize, journalists in northern New Jersey who work for Gannett are voting on whether or not to form a union. They are affiliated with NorthJersey.com, the Bergen Record, the Daily Record and the NJ Herald.
In both cases the workers putting so much at risk to form a union are like David facing off with Goliath. Armed only with their courage to stand up for their own collective sense of right and wrong, they face multi-billion-dollar corporate behemoths that are the very engine of the wealth concentration and radical income disparity that have come to define the global economy.
As multiple economic studies have documented, since the 1970’s workers saw their wages flatline or decline, even as technology saw their productivity, the wealth their labor generated, grow exponentially.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the newspaper business which I entered through the loading dock door decades ago at the Ridgewood Newspapers in Bergen County when I started in the typesetting and composition department.
As a reporter, I watched as technology reduced the number of people it took to produce the newspaper, but those labor savings never found its way into the paychecks of those of us who continued to produce the newspaper.