This article takes stock of the recent union organizing in digital media. It offers some context, beginning with a discussion of the crisis in the traditional, printbased news business that is both cause and effect of the growth of the digital news media. The article then provides a sampling of the ways in which this crisis has been diagnosed and understood, in terms of the basic economics of the business and in terms of its dire implications for the public sphere. A review of the main themes in the history of union-based struggle in the news industry, followed by considerations of the union role on the infrastructural side of the increasingly Internet-based communications industry, helps pinpoint both the challenges and the possibilities represented by the unionization of digital media workers.
Connecting the Dots: Labor and the Digital Landscape
RICHARD WELLS is an associate professor of labor studies at the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, Empire State College/SUNY. He writes about labor in the media industry and the politics and practice of popular/labor education and is now contemplating a study of the 1962–63 NYC newspaper strike and its impact on the political economy and culture of the news.
Richard Wells; Connecting the Dots: Labor and the Digital Landscape. Labor 1 September 2018; 15 (3): 55–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-6910210
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