NewsGuild-CWA Launches New Website Dedicated To Helping Digital Media Workers Organize

Franck Boston / Getty Images

Recently, the NewsGuild-CWA received a lot well-deserved attention with a slam-dunk organizing win at the Guardian US, where staff voted 45-0 for the union. This was quickly followed by a petition for representation from news staff at Al Jazeera America. With parallel successes by the Writers Guild of America East at Gawker and Vice, union organizing in digital media looks to be on a strong and noisy upswing.

Journalists in digital newsrooms clearly want and need the same kind of job protections and effective representation that the Guild has historically provided in print newsrooms. Staff in digital media face more challenges and pressures than ever, and as union originally founded by and for working journalists, the Guild is a natural fit as an organizing partner. What's more, the Guild has been actively representing digital staff longer than just about anybody, starting with the online newsrooms of many major newspapers, and including the first completely digital-only operation to organize, Truthout, where staff joined the Guild all the way back in 2009.

In order to provide a gateway for other digital staff wanting to organize, and to provide more background on the Guild and its experience representing journalists of all stripes, including those working in digital, the NewsGuild-CWA has set up a new, dedicated website focused on digital organizing. The site offers quotes and comments from Guild members working in digital media, information on the history of the Guild's digital organizing, and confidential links to communicate with Guild organizers.

For anyone interested in bringing a bit of union solidarity online, is clearly going to be the place to start.

Great Recent Labor Reporting In Words and Pictures

If you missed it earlier, take some time to check out this great Seattle Times piece featuring women working in traditionally male trade jobs. Interviews and stories by Susan Kelleher, photo work by Bettina Hansen.

The women and the jobs featured range from ironworker to electrician to wild-land firefighter, and include a couple of original "Rosie the Riveters" who got their start at Boeing back during World War Two. The story helps show both how far women have come (see illustration above) and the challenges they still face.

There's also a bonus "Behind the Byline" piece by Bettina, in which she talks about the equipment and approach she used to create the photos. It's a nice extra, interesting both from a technical point of view, for photography buffs, but also very much in keeping with the labor theme; literally, the story of the work that goes into creating what you see.

The piece was originally published in the September 6, 2015 edition of Pacific NW, the Seattle Times Sunday magazine supplement. If you've a mind to get yourself a nice glossy-paper original, the helpful folks in back issues can be contacted here.

Will the Real Rosie the Riveter Please Stand Up (Or, Better Yet, Sit and Enjoy a Well-Earned Lunch Break)

Courtesy of labor historian Erik Loomis, here's an informative background piece on Rosie's origin.

Among other points, Loomis reminds us that the "We Can Do It" image most often associated with Rosie today (lower left) is not the original. In fact, the "We Can Do It" Rosie has some troubling not-so-worker-friendly origins in a company propaganda campaign by the Westinghouse Corporation.

The original Rosie portrait (upper right) was the creation of Norman Rockwell, and appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943.

Both Rosies have become iconic, and the "We Can Do It" image's corporate associations have long been buried under a bigger and better message of self-empowerment for women.

But Rockwell's Rosie is the original. And she looks it, too, in a distinctly American way. Rockwell could get a bit schmaltzy at times, but his best work, including Rosie, captures a unique combination of the heroic and the wise-ass, displayed in a single attitude. His Rosie poses proudly in front of the flag, holding a classic profile. But she's not going to drop that sandwich, either! And who's gonna tell her she has to? There's no doubt she's earned it.