Today's Top Stories

CBS Web writer-producers get first guild contract

The Writers Guild of America, West has signed its first contract covering news writing and promotions for the internet. About 15 web writer-producers working in television and radio news and promotions at CBS studios in the Los Angeles area this week ratified their first-ever contract with CBS. The three-year agreement includes increases in minimum wages and establishes grievance procedures and paid vacations as well as health and pension benefits.

For Murdoch, media has often been about friends and influence

Although Rupert Murdoch considers himself a political conservative, when it comes to his business dealings he is a pragmatist. He's willing to befriend a liberal democrat who can help his business agenda and he's not afraid to use his media properties as weapons to further his vastand politically connected empire -- as witness his willingness to kill an embarrassing story about Al Gore's son as a favor from one father to another.

Money Talks

Why do we never hear from the working class on op-ed pages?

While political debate in the past few years has centered on issues critical to working class Americans -- like health care and entitlement reform, unions, taxes -- America’s most prestigious op-ed sections rarely feature contributions from actual members of the working class on these issues. Wouldn’t it be nice if we also got to hear from someone in that “almost half” that doesn’t pay income tax at all (often because they can’t afford to)?

Bloomberg Agrees to Buy Bureau of National Affairs for About $990 Million

Bloomberg LP, the closely held news and financial information provider, has agreed to buy the Bureau of National Affairs for about $990 million to add legal, tax and regulatory research and analysis. BNA shareholders, who are current and former employees, will get $39.50 a share in cash in a transaction that is expected to be completed this year. BNA employees are represented by the Newspaper Guild; Bloomberg employees are not.

Germany discovers that boosting unions reduces unemployment

Germany, with a 6% unemployment rate, relatively low by economic measures both in Europe and USA, has found that strengthening unions is an important way for reducing unemployment. It is also an important policy for reducing economic inequality. Moreover, Germany has a smaller deficit than the U.S. -- not because it spends less but because its tax policies take a heavier toll from huge corporations.

September 11 victims ask US attorney general to widen inquiry to computers

Relatives of September 11 victims have asked the US attorney general, Eric Holder, to widen the criminal inquiry into possible phone hacking by journalists from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to include computer hacking. Holder told relatives during a meeting Wednesday that he was “outraged” at the “disgusting and unconscionable” allegations that their loved ones may have been victims of the tabloid phone hacking scandal, according to one who attended the meeting.

Fighting the Firings

After years of ‘silent raids’ and federal workplace audits, unions and community allies are going on the offensive.

When the current wave of mass firings of immigrant workers started three years ago, they were called “silent raids” in the press. The phrase makes firings seem more humane than the workplace raids of the Bush administration. No delegations of immigrant rights activists have traveled to Washington D.C. to protest. Unions have said little, even as their own members were fired -- and, in fact, the workplace enforcement wave is focusing not on low-wage employers, but on high-wage, and often unionized ones.

Labor power AFL-CIO to form super PAC to engage beyond unions

The AFL-CIO is forming a super PAC to engage nonunion members ahead of the 2012 elections, the federation said on Tuesday. AFL-CIO Political Director Michael Podhorzer said the 12.2 million-strong group was creating the political action committee to expand its communications, not to raise unlimited campaign funds for pro-labor candidates. The super PAC will be formally launched shortly after meetings this month.