Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Collective Bargaining "Unit?"

Did a Local Springfield News Paper Article Display an Agenda?

In the Springfield News-Leader article today, "Teachers will vote on contract," first the article reports that Springfield's public school teachers will be voting to approve or reject a contract reached through collective bargaining. The contract will solidify terms and procedures related to wage and benefit increases along with other conditions of employment.

Historically, such an article would have identified the National Education Association (NEA) and the Springfield National Education Association (SNEA) as teachers' unions, but what I observed was that the term "union" was omitted throughout the entire article and not mentioned in any of the sidebar information shared at the News-Leader site. On some occasions in the article, whenever one might have expected to see the word "union," it was replaced by the word "unit" and although the article begins announcing the contract was reached through "collective" bargaining, later, when identified, the "unit" was referred to as simply the "bargaining unit," rather than the collective bargaining unit.

These observations give rise to some questions we should ponder:

Why do you suppose the writer of the article or the editing staff of the News-Leader chose not to identify the National Education Association or the Springfield National Education Association as the unions that they are?

Did the News-Leader writer or editorial staff want to obscure the fact that these are teachers' unions because of recent controversial national union news?

Would such a seemingly careful omission of the term "union" imply whoever is responsible would like to see this action on the part of the SNEA fly under the local radar rather than command any controversial reaction?

Ask yourself those questions, and after you ask them you can judge for yourself whether there is a potential media agenda involved.  I just wanted you to think about it beyond the surface.