The International Federation of Journalists today appealed to journalists groups and media unions around the world to give their support to Chinese media staff fighting one of the most “infamous and flagrant” violations of union rights in the United States.
The IFJ says the long-running battle for union recognition and bargaining rights by 150 media staff at the Chinese Daily News in Monterey Park California is a shocking example of how international media employers disregard core labour values.
“These workers are not asking for the world,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, “they want some basic rights, but the company is investing instead in a union-busting exercise that affects journalists and media staff everywhere.”
The Daily News workers have been fighting for recognition since October 2000 when they asked The Newspaper Guild-Communication Workers of America for help after a pay rise was withdrawn and employees were forced to sign statements acknowledging that they could be fired at any time, even without a stated reason.
“This dispute is led by a courageous group of workers, many of whom are immigrants to the United States from Taiwan,” said White. “IFJ unions and other global unions will redouble their efforts to expose the injustice they are suffering and to help them win basic rights.”
The IFJ has also asked for Taiwanese journalists and media unions working for the company in Taiwan to support the California workforce.
“These workers have been determined to stand up for their rights against anti-union lawyers and consultants who have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the employer to block their democratic decision to form a union,” said White.
“It is a dispute that resonates in many parts of the world where powerful media companies go out of their way to victimise union activists. If they succeed they damage not just the social fabric of journalism, but they threaten press freedom as well.”
The IFJ appeal comes as the California workers prepare for a major rally on July 9 to highlight the dispute, which has become increasingly well known in the United States as an emblematic struggle for union rights in media.
Full information on the background is available on the web site: Communications Workers of America