All the President’s Unions: Labor film festival criticized for showing Post-friendly movie

Washington City Paper
Washington Post legends Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein worked during the 1975-76 pressmen’s strike at their paper, which is one of many reasons activists are angry that the film about the duo’s most famous reporting will be shown Friday night at the D.C. Labor Film Fest. Ally Schweitzer, a former Post employee, details the paper’s long history of antagonizing unions:

Just earlier this year, the Washington Teachers’ Union picketed outside the newspaper’s headquarters on 15th Street NW in protest of its editorial board’s perceived anti-teacher bias. The WaPo board has repeatedly lashed out at Montgomery County firefighter and police unions, accusing them of sapping county resources. Moreover, the company’s own business practices have been criticized as anti-union. The Post has clashed with its unionized employees plenty of times, most recently in 2007, when the Communications Workers of America launched a publicity campaign against WaPo on behalf of the company’s production workers. As recently as 2002, Post guild members have led successful byline strikes in response to slow contract negotiations.

Festival organizers defended their decision:

“While we obviously share the concerns raised about the Post’s current and past anti-union actions, the 1975 Pressmen’s strike came after the events depicted in “All The President’s Men.” That the Post soon thereafter became a union-buster should not taint the paper’s courage at the time in taking on corruption and abuses of power at the highest levels of our government.”

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  • Reykjavik

    Wasn’t this the pressmen’s strike detailed in Kay Graham’s autobiography where the pressmen sabotaged presses and almost crippled the paper? If that’s the sort of behavior that organized labor wishes to highlight by their criticism, please do so. I think that it highlights the larger issue of is there any place for organized labor in modern day information companies. Newspapers (and some magazines) seem handicapped by unions and their eighteenth century work rules. Blue collar jobs I can somewhat understand, but editorial and advertising types make no sense whatsoever.