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Thursday, Aug 30, 2012, 10:28 am

Help Us Spur More Federal Investigations of Union Busting

By Mike Elk

As a labor reporter, shining light on the mistreatment and exploitation of workers—and the challenges that face unions in fighting off attacks—is what drives me. I am proud to be a staff writer at In These Times, one of the only dedicated sources of labor journalism in the U.S. And it is why I need you to support In These Times with a donation today.

In the past few months a number of stories that I have covered for In These Times have made national headlines and led to concrete action. These stories—and their impact—would not have been possible without the support of readers like you.

In June, I reported that veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan were forced to attend anti-union meetings on a U.S. Army base in Washington State, prior to a union election at a General Dynamics plant that repairs military vehicles. This kind of employer intimidation is sadly all too common in workplaces across the country, but forcing workers to face it on U.S. Army property and on the U.S. government's dime is unprecedented.

Shortly after the story was published, the Department of Labor opened an ongoing investigation into whether these captive-audience meetings violated U.S. labor law. Thanks to In These Times' coverage, federal investigators are looking into the allegations and putting pressure on the managers who arranged the meetings. With your support, I can continue to cover labor stories like this that no one else is.

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For almost two years I've consistently covered the lockout of workers at a Honeywell uranium plant in Metropolis, Ill. for In These Times. Through investigating the anti-union policies of Honeywell, I reported on CEO David Cote's cozy relationship with President Obama, and was forcibly removed from a Congressional forum after asking Cote about his anti-worker policies at a meeting in the U.S. Capitol. Following reports of my expulsion, the story of Honeywell's labor practices gained widespread attention and my reporting was cited by the Washington Post this July.

In May, I reported on a strike over benefits and wages by Caterpillar workers at a plant in Joliet, Ill. At the time no other national media outlets were on the story. But by late July, the New York Times had a story on the strike on their front page, reporting much of the same information published at In These Times months before.

None of this vital reporting would have been possible without In These Times. As a full-time staff writer, I am able to cover important labor stories like these that other outlets ignore. But as a nonprofit organization, In These Times needs your support to continue funding and publishing my reporting.

If you believe that the mainstream media has ignored the stories of workers—and if you believe that labor journalism can play a key role in reviving the labor movement—then please donate to In These Times today.

As Chicago teachers prepare to spark one of the largest teachers' strikes in a generation, In These Times plans to be on the front lines. We can't be there without your support.

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Mike Elk wrote for In These Times and its labor blog, Working In These Times, from 2010 to 2014. He is currently a labor reporter at Politico.

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