June 20, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The president of the AFL-CIO, Rich Trumka, was in town last week at The Worker Institute where he said labor would love to have a massive media network that rivals the influence of Fox News on working Americans.
But it’ll take a lot of resources and skill.
When asked would he like to see labor create an influential news network like Fox News, Trumka said absolutely.
“The answer is unequivocally yes. The question becomes the resources and the skill to do it with. When you’re under attack, the resources have to be prioritized,” said Trumka.
He noted that the labor federation has some local media personalities and coverage around the country, but it needs to expand.
“We have some local television and radio shows, [but] we’d love to have a national network,” Trumka said.
The importance of building a media network that can rival Fox News on TV or The Blaze or Breitbart on the Internet was possibly best underscored by the UAW’s recent defeat in the South when Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker warned on television that jobs would be lost to Mexico should workers in a Volkswagen plant vote union.
While building out a national media network would require a lot of cash and personalities who can connect to working folk, organized labor is trying to ensure that labor education becomes a part of educational curricula.
The Associated Press just reported this week that unions in Connecticut are asking the state legislature to include labor history in the state’s social studies curriculum.
According to the story, Steve Kass, a board member with the Greater New Haven Labor History Association and supporter of the legislation said that labor history in the schools would help introduce students to early labor leaders, not only industrialists.
“You hear Rockefeller, you hear Vanderbilt, [but] you don’t hear Debs.”